Sawubona

In our disconnected world, it seems just too much to expect people to be fully present for one another. We are constantly running around, doing “things” without SEEING anyone.

A very saddened counsellor came to work one day and shared this observation in our weekly team meeting.  Go to a supermarket or a petrol station and the cashier or petrol attendant is taken aback when you make eye contact and greet. What is that about? Do we not greet anymore? Do we not see each other anymore? Have the human beings we encounter in the daily pursuit of the things we have to do, simply been reduced to “things” too?

The Zulu greeting  SAWUBONA,  directly translates to “I see you”, which carries a much deeper meaning than the casual “hello” or “hi” that has become the commonplace greeting in our physical and digital public spaces.  With the simple greeting SAWUBONA I am saying I recognize the human being in you. This further ties in with the Ubuntu principle of I am because we are”.  I cannot exist without you, a part of you makes up who I am.

SAWUBONA. I SEE YOU. The Sophiatown team invites you to embrace the challenge of recognizing the humanity of the other as we go about doing the big and little things which make up our daily lives: look into the face of the cashier, the petrol attendant, the beggar at the traffic lights, the car guard on the parking lot, the receptionist announcing your arrival for that very important meeting: SAWUBONA. I SEE YOU. I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE.

― Bertrams Counsellor