Until arriving in South Africa, I had not given the idea of forgiveness the serious thought that it deserved. It wasn't until we had our tour of the District 6 museum that I wrestled with this notion. I was silent for most of the day, and into the evening, when we had our Circle--then I began to say out loud what had been slow cooking in my head. How could a man like Joe--the tour guide for our group and a previous inhabitant of the once flourishing and diverse District 6, forgive the very people who had stolen his home and the homes of those who came both before and after him? With what grace was he managing to do so? Under what circumstances did he arrive at such a conclusion?
These questions settled into answers that I wasn't able to communicate, to comprehend without considering the profound concept of Ubuntu and Community that informs the Black South African's psyche. I am because we are; I am because we are. This dictates that my humanity is based, integrally, on the humanity of those around me. This would mean, when others around me succeed, I am inadvertently succeeding. The same applies when they fail, are hurt and are poor or live under any other inherently bad circumstances. I can conclude that those who inflicted harm on Africans in this nation were severely damaged humans because of the damage they did to their fellow humans, in the name of .... whatever.
But, furthermore and riding on the strong, self reflective and inwardly healing sings of forgiveness, this means that If I forgive, then I am forgiven. When one is healed, chooses healing, then all can benefit from that as well ... always considering the interconnected premise of Ubuntu and community.
So, I have to forgive, when I'm confronted with racism, when it hurts, when I'm confused, when I'm participating and at the brunt, when I am too annoyed to do so ... because Joe forgave, because the Community I wish to see in my lifetime is so intensively dependent on a constant state of forgiveness.
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