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UBUNTU

"A person is a person through other persons" Desmond Tutu.

 

 

Ubuntu is a classical African philosophy that emphasises the interconnectedness of humanity and the importance of community. It is often translated as,

“I am because we are,” or “humanity towards others,” but its meaning is more profound, reflecting the idea that one’s own well-being is deeply tied to the well-being of others. Ubuntu speaks to the very essence of being human, where your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with the people around you.It is a philosophy that promotes compassion, altruism, and the recognition that our actions have an impact on the community and the world at large.

 

 

In practice, Ubuntu manifests in community support, sharing, and caring for one another, especially in times of need. It is about prioritising the greater good and making decisions that benefit not just the individual, but also the collective. This philosophy can be seen in the way communities come together to celebrate, grieve, and provide for each other. Ubuntu is a reminder that we are all part of a larger whole, and it challenges us to live in a way that honours this connection, fostering a spirit of unity and harmony among all people.

 

 

 

Photo: Alex Rowland, Sunderland College (2023)

Kanga Cloth

R&d 2023

The kanga is a cultural icon in East Africa, representing the region’s history, traditions, and the everyday lives of its people. The kanga, also known as leso, is a rectangular cotton fabric that is deeply embedded in the social fabric of the region. Known for their bright colours and bold patterns, they often feature central motifs and distinctive borders. They are not just clothing but are regarded as form of art and a means of communication.

Kangas serve multiple purposes:

they are worn as garments, used for carrying babies, and given as gifts during important life events such as weddings and funerals. They are also symbolic gifts that convey respect and dignity, especially among women.

 

The inscriptions on kangas, known as jina or ujumbe, are particularly significant. These Swahili sayings or proverbs are often wise, humorous, or reflective, providing insight into the wearer’s thoughts or feelings. They can convey messages to specific individuals or the community at large. The kanga emerged from a complex history of global trade networks, particularly those involving the Indian Ocean region.

The Work

The kanga serves as an important aspect of the piece, conveying the Ubuntu philosophy message, symbolising not only cultural heritage but also the interconnectedness of humanity.

 

The Kanga cloth becomes a visual representation of the bond that binds the performers, conveying a message of solidarity that exists amongst the human experiences. The work invites the audience to reflect introspectively in uncovering our shared experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Ubuntu is more than a performance; it's a journey of self discovery through a collective supporting environment (community). The work celebrates our different cultural backgrounds and asks the audience to recognise the complexity of their own humanity while honouring the interconnectedness that binds us all. 

R&d Dance City (2023)

Ubuntu awaits further funding opportunities for the final phase 

R&d Dance City (2023)
Ubuntu | Sunderland College (2023)
Video: Alex Rowland
Length: 2mins 56secs

 
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