A simple yet powerful Zulu greeting that lets you know that you are in the presence of royalty.
At first you may think that you’ve accidentally landed in a utopia with the happy ever afters, the inspirational figures, and the valiant heroes saving the day. You will shake your head in disbelief and say, “This isn’t the real world. This can’t be!” Maybe you will even be tempted to change gears and get out of here before you’re contaminated with all our goodness.
We ask you to stay a while. This world is very real. None of the characters are fictional. Their names are real and so are their lives. They have the bruises, tears, scars, wrinkles, and the hardships to prove it. They were born of real parents, in real countries and were dealt the same cards as you and I. Most of them were even dealt the worst hand one can imagine.
UMURAGE is the real world, the same world you are used to seeing plastered all over your TV screens and other media, a world dominated by misunderstandings and misgivings, where the powerful demean the weak, where our discourse is dominated by aggression, where we find aggression on the streets, in our social networks, in the exclusive policies we enact, in the non-acceptance of people with different views or beliefs or simply people of different cultures and origins. This is the real world, where we don’t have time to pay a compliment to one another and uplift the spirits of the desperate and the fallen.
The only difference here is that we choose to look at the flip-side of that real world. We know that our narrative is a minority narrative, but nonetheless it is a narrative of substance and action.
At first sight, the people you meet here will seem to come from outer space. They are humans, but we agree, they are men and women of distinction. If we could, we would knight them or bestow royal titles on them. They are royals who got their titles not by birth, but by their own actions and moral decisions, their humanity, extraordinary deeds, the resilience, strength, and courage they demonstrated when they chose to break barriers so many fear to approach, and doing so when all the odds were against them.
These men and women of all ages and all colours are simply extraordinary. They know no boundaries, no language barriers, and aren’t burdened by the world’s perception of what an African should or could be nor do they accept to stay in places society has forcefully assigned them at birth. On the contrary, every obstacle on their path is just another space to conquer, and every defeat is a milestone in the making. Their every word and ideas are precious lessons in this university we call life. Their laughter and tears are the invisible ink that tell us the truth about these amazing living books.
You will be tempted to bow to them and append a title to their names, but they’ll refuse them. They will tell you that if you must show your respect, show it to the street kids who go hungry every day, the single mothers with no means to raise their newborn babies, the brilliant youth who can’t afford to further their education, the pregnant women with no access to medical care—all the vulnerable people these heroes serve every day.
Please take the time to learn from their journeys and draw lessons that will help you grow and achieve your life goals. Know that some of the journeys will seem superhuman and will be difficult to comprehend. Be patient, even if It takes a while before you find that one story or maybe that one phrase that will unlock your own powers and fearfully unleash the legacy maker in you. When that moment comes, we’ll be there as your community of dreamers to help you make it happen.
In the meantime, take it easy and enjoy the ride.
#BeTheLegacy #Mandela100 #RightYourLegacy #WhatisUMURAGE