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Ubuntu – Inclusion and Belonging

Added: 14/11/2022

Voluntary Action Leeds

So much food for thought from today’s session around the African philosophy of Ubuntu. It was such a gift to have the time and space to consider and reflect on the importance of connection and belonging. How as humans, we all need to feel a connection and belonging and as humans, there is a lot that we can do to enable the connection and belonging of others.

The language we use around racism and inclusion can be uncomfortable and complex but of course, it’s also important and useful. White people need to recognise their privilege and share that power with others, white supremacy is prevalent, and people are othered, racialised and dehumanised. Today we explored the power of storytelling, how when we listen, like, really listen – without judgement, without listening but waiting to disagree, without preparing our profound response, we can begin to show true empathy. To really see our fellow humans and try our best to understand their experiences.

The concept of human libraries is amazing and I’ll be looking out for an opportunity to attend one. This is where a person is invited to tell their story and share their life experiences and worldviews. This is how we will begin to develop our compassion and empathy for others and hopefully become more than allies but co-conspirators.

But what does it mean to be a co-conspirator? How do I become that person? I’m not sure I have the answer to this but today has challenged me to listen from the heart, hold my fellow humans up, shout about their skills and create space for them to shine. And when they have that space to be sure that they can be their truest and most authentic selves.

The gift of Ubuntu is one I’ll be holding on to.


Andrina Dawson

Coordinator for Volunteering

Voluntary Action Leeds

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