TED Talk Tuesday – Boyd Varty: What I learned from Nelson Mandela

I have waited to watch this video for weeks and I am so glad that I finally got a chance to watch it today. This talk by Boyd Varty embodies everything I have been learning from the Brene Brown Gifts of Imperfection course. It showcase the power of living from a place of humanity and to have that humanity reflected back to you in many different ways. The biggest take away for me is the word “Ubuntu.” It is not the first time I have heard this term, but I think this time it will stick. Ubuntu is an African word that means “I am; because of you. People are not people without other people.” The impact and power of that statement, “I am because of you,” is soul shaking. The level of compassion, connection, and courage that lives in this statement is amazing. May this move you as well. Enjoy!

” He was bringing peace to a divided and violent South Africa,one man with an unbelievable sense of his humanity. Mandela said often that the gift of prison was the ability to go within and to think, to create in himself the things he most wanted for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, harmony. Through this act of immense open-heartedness, he was to become the embodiment of what in South Africa we call “ubuntu.”Ubuntu: I am because of you. Or, people are not people without other people.

It’s not a new idea or value but it’s one that I certainly think at these times is worth building on. In fact, it is said that in the collective consciousness of Africa, we get to experience the deepest parts of our own humanity through our interactions with others.

In a more collective society, we realize from the inside that our own well-being is deeply tied to the well-being of others. Danger is shared. Pain is shared. Joy is shared. Achievement is shared. Houses are shared. Food is shared. Ubuntu asks us to open our hearts and to share, and what Solly taught me that day is the essence of this value, his animated, empathetic action in every moment.

And that outpouring of emotion from people on our safari trucks as they saw her, it was this sense of kinship. And it reminded me that even people who grow up in cities feel a natural connection with the natural world and with animals.:”

What Elvis and the herd taught me caused me to expand my definition of ubuntu, and I believe that in the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the most beautiful parts of ourselvesreflected back at us. And it is not only through other people that we get to experience our humanity but through all the creatures that live on this planet. If Africa has a gift to share, it’s a gift of a more collective society.


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