Establishing an Ubuntu Link is the single most important act of kindness, of revolution, a human can take in their lifetime.
the magic button
The poverty that surrounds us, is our poverty. It lives and breathes in our communities. It is part of our neighbourhoods, of our daily lives. It is caused by the mechanics of the economic system in which we all participate. The poverty is ours. It is our birth right. It is our heritage.
There is no magic button to push to solve this poverty. No political party or non profit organisation has the ability to solve the poverty either, despite our votes and donations, and despite their promises and good intentions. To pay taxes and to cast votes is no longer a measure of our contribution to our country. It never has been. There is no quick, convenient fix. The poverty is growing and the system for its solution has failed. It’s that simple.
the thin red line
You may choose to leave our country. Hamba kahle, travel safely. If you choose to stay, then it’s time to stand up. It’s time to fight. It is our responsibility, our personal responsibility to represent and protect the vulnerable. If you choose to stay, then you choose to serve your nation. It is now up to us, the individuals, the ordinary, everyday, garden-variety people to take care of the problem, to step into the fight against poverty, to form, and hold, the thin red line of Ubuntu around the vulnerable. It is our responsibility to be the Ubuntu Army.
So, how do we, as individuals, schools, NGOs and corporates solve poverty? How do we join Ubuntu Army? Simple. Really, really simple. We build Ubuntu Links. Millions of them. One at a time.
An Ubuntu Link is an incredibly simple mechanism. It is a direct link between you and a family in need. In building an Ubuntu Link, we are creating a new extended family. We are creating a micro-community between ourselves and a vulnerable individual, and their family. To do this, we need to leave our comfort zones, and introduce ourselves to the people living on the other side of the road. On the other side of the river. On the other side of the socio-economic, racial or religious divide. On the other side of our fear.
An Ubuntu Link is a relationship of equality, of vulnerability. Be aware of this at the outset, especially in your employer-employee relationships. These relationships are based on an inherent hierarchy, and do not necessarily translate into a solid Ubuntu Link.
The first step is to introduce yourself to a vulnerable person, to swap numbers and to start chatting. Begin the process of connecting, of creating community. Until you get to know each other, perhaps meet in neutral locations. This may be less intimidating for both of you.
And then it’s game time. It’s time to meet for coffees, for chats, for walks on the beach, for picnics in the park, for birthdays in backyards. It's time to share stories and swap recipes. It’s time to learn about each other’s lives, about each other’s children, families, hopes, fears, victories and defeats. It’s time to ask for help, and to offer help. It's time to become friends, and over time, to become family.
a personal basis
Creating an Ubuntu Link allows us to address the poverty experienced by the members of our Link on a personal basis. An Ubuntu Link offers simple, connected and unprecedented support. It's a lifeline, It is a safety net, a support base, on every level, for all involved.
During times of crisis we step forward, and offer support to the vulnerable members in our Link, as it is during these times that the vulnerable truly suffer. During times of crisis and disaster, we give. Unreservedly. Whatever is needed. This is not charity, this is crisis management. During times of crisis, materials, infrastructure, money and food are going to be needed. Don’t hold back. Give that you can.
a two-way street
During more sedate, domestic times, we do not prioritise money and donation. Instead, we offer our time, our skills, our support, our love, our resource, ourselves to the family in our Link. Jump in. Get involved. Build your link, your relationships, your friendships. Get connected.
And vice versa, as an Ubuntu Link is a two-way street. While resource may generally flow in one direction, we all have our own unique, incredibly interesting and valuable selves to offer. We all have time, skills, support, and love to offer. In our Links we all take responsibility for each other. On an emotional, physical, material basis. We support each other. Unconditionally. Irrespective of our financial capacity.
Financial support is essential in creating security during times of crisis. During more sedate times, financial support can also be incredibly powerful. If you have the available means, and wish to support the members of your Link financially, look for long term benefit and dividend. Invest in infrastructure, education, vocation, enterprise. This will nurture independence and dignity, and will ultimately protect and grow your relationships. Get to know your Link. Connect. This will allow you to give strategically, to give effectively. Donation without connection is charity, and charity achieves nothing.
With that said, financial contributions to the members of your Link are not a prerequisite to establishing a Link. The personal connections between you and your Link are far more important than donation, and will generally yield solutions to financial challenges within your Link, when they arise.
An Ubuntu Link prioritises action, over criticism. Criticism is easy. Anyone can do it. Criticism dominates our political and social spaces. Politicians and keyboard activists are brilliant at it. Creation, on the other hand, is more difficult. It involves doing rather than saying. Creation takes courage and action, but is far more rewarding.
Creating an Ubuntu Link creates relationship, dialogue and understanding. Creating an Ubuntu Link creates connection, between previously divided and separated people. Creating an Ubuntu Link destroys mistrust and division and breaks down the building blocks of toxic politics. Creating an Ubuntu Link allows for learning and sharing. Creating an Ubuntu Link creates unity and community. Creating an Ubuntu Link will solve poverty.
a word of caution
Creating an Ubuntu Link is not a linear experience. In creating an Ubuntu Link, we are creating a relationship with others, and all relationships have their ups and downs, have their cycles. At times, the relationship will be challenging, and demanding and perhaps even infuriating, but this is the nature of learning and uniting.
We have spent our loves separated from the people on the other side of the road. On the other side of the river. On the other side of the socio-economic, racial or religious divide. On the other side of our fear. It will take time, and a few bumps, to bridge that pain. Remaining open and vulnerable through this process is essential. Honesty, respect, authenticity and a sense of humour will allow for deep learning to occur. This is connection, and connection will solve poverty and unite our country.
This may all seem daunting at first, but creating an Ubuntu Link will ultimately liberate you, as relationship and service to others is the greatest antidote to the stress, disconnection and depression that characterise modern life. As citizens of this disconnected world, we carry a great deal of subtle and mostly unacknowledged pain. This pain stems from a lack of wider community, from a lack of humanity. Creating an Ubuntu Link addresses this pain directly.
Many have discovered, that creating an Ubuntu Link, and serving others, heals them at a deep and profound level. Most often the person establishing the Ubuntu Link receives the greatest rewards from the relationship, despite often being the wealthier and more materially secure.
Ubuntu Army has spent three years in the dust and the rubble, through lockdowns, riots and flood, supporting, and advocating for the vulnerable. From this time on the frontline, It is clear that the poverty and frustration is growing. But. And it's a big, juicy BUT. If we all build an Ubuntu Link we will solve poverty. Bold words, but completely possible. Possible with collective action. Possible if we each take our position in the thin red line, and create an unbreakable red chain of Ubuntu around this country.
This is what real change looks like. It is created at the grassroots, with ordinary people connecting, and grows upwards, one Link at a time, until it is an unstoppable force of change.
Over the past three years, members of Ubuntu Army created thousands of Ubuntu Links. In areas where Ubuntu Links have been built, the structure of those communities has changed. Poverty has been reduced. Division has been reduced. Dignity and respect have been established.
Creating an Ubuntu Link erodes the fabric of division and creates real, perceptible change. Creating an Ubuntu Link destroys poverty and division.
Ubuntu Links work. There is no debate.
Perhaps the most important lesson we learnt during our three years in the mud and the rubble, is that, despite opinion and politics, that the people on both sides of the cultural, socio-economic, religious and political divides share the same concerns, the same hopes, and many of the same dreams.
We’re all the same, at all the important human levels, but different in culture, tradition, belief, opinion, resource, geography. While we all move through the world in our own unique ways, the things that really matter to the people on both sides of the divide, are shared. United we conquer poverty and division. Celebrate your differences and remain open to each other.
The differences between us are exploited by politicians and institutions. Be aware of this. Connect, despite the divisive speeches and threats. Connecting with the people on the other side of the road, on the other side of the river, on the other side of the socio-economic, political or religious divide, is the greatest act of revolution you, as an individual, can take.
Connecting with the people on the other side of your fears, puts the politicians, the thugs, the bullies, and the crooks out of business. Connection builds community, and community destroys division. Community solves poverty. Community will reclaim our country.
Be the change. Connect.
Through weight of numbers, by all stepping up, and by all building an Ubuntu Link of our own, we will meet the poverty head-on. We will taste the diversity of our country. We will regain our power from the divisive politicians and the corrupt thugs. We will build a strong united nation. A compassionate nation. We will reclaim our country. We will rebuild the rainbow that once promised to shine.
Poverty is not a lack of resource, it is a lack of connection, a lack of community. With community we can solve the issues of food, water and shelter, but without it, we have only politics and charity left, and neither solve anything.
In-person connection is the gold standard. In-person connection allows for people to experience their shared vulnerability without the filter of a screen, to touch and feel, and smell and taste connection. To be human. In-person connection destroys poverty, politics and division, heals all involved, and is the foundation of community.
Digital connection, although not as grounded, does serve a purpose in our fast-paced, disconnected, digital world. The Ubuntu Link Facebook group which was established in early 2020 during the Covid lockdowns, facilitates digital connection between previously separated people, and has fostered many thousands of new relationships. Many of these relationships endure. In the process, many thousands of vulnerable African families have been fed, clothed and sheltered. Join Ubuntu Link and meet new people now
When connection is placed before profit, incredible things happen. Humanity is rediscovered. Societies shift. Countries are saved. But, perhaps most telling in this profit driven world, is that organisational and revenue sustainability is also unearthed. Connection positively affects the bottom-line. It literally pays to prioritise connection.
The challenge before us is to create authentic connection as a priority, within the fibre and operating systems of all corporate, charity, religious, educational and political structures. This will support and deepen the work done by us, the ordinary, garden variety people.
We have included a few technical notes, guidelines and suggestions for corporates, non-profits, schools and churches on how to build Ubuntu Links, and to adopt an Ubuntu Link policy. These guidelines will be updated as we learn more about the intricacies of committing to organisational Ubuntu.