One afternoon, Fathima returns home to a scene of despair: neighbours clustered together, their faces full of worry. In a heartwarming display of Ubuntu, her family offers support, showcasing solidarity and compassion. Join us in discovering how unity can conquer adversity and contribute to a better life for all.
One Sunday, we arrived home from a wedding to find our forlorn neighbours, sitting among a pile of buckets, bottles, and anything they could fill water in. Upon enquiry, they said they had been waiting for the water truck in the scorching heat for hours.
In some parts of Johannesburg, South Africa, homes have not had water in their taps for weeks and months on end. While alternatives for electricity are many, water is another story. Imagine not having an absolute necessity in life — WATER. While the causes are many, ranging from infrastructure damage, theft, and global warming, the result is the same: No water!
Thankfully, my dad’s foresight blessed our home with a precious borehole that provides us with fresh filtered water every day. Sometimes, because we are off-the-grid, we are not even aware of what is happening around us, especially with the lack of water — until we see people queueing up, waiting for the water trucks the municipality sends. Often, the trucks are late or run out of water before reaching our street.
Sitting in the sun that Sunday, our neighbours looked parched, distraught, and miserable. They worried about how they would go to work the next day unbathed, prepare meals for their kids, or use the loo hygienically. Many of these neighbours live with more than 10 people, sharing communal kitchens and bathrooms.
Ubuntu in Action: Sharing Water, Sharing Hope
In the spirit of Ubuntu, a Zulu term meaning humanity that also translates to: "I am because we are", we encouraged them to collect their water from our borehole. We opened the gate and connected the hosepipe. Very quickly, the word spread, and old and young gathered with various-sized vessels to collect this elixir of life.
There was much laughter and chatter, along with some exuberant singing as bucket after bucket was filled. It was a feel-good moment for me and heartwarming to watch the young help the elderly carry their water home before returning for their own buckets.
By the time the water truck finally arrived, we must have provided water to around 50-plus very grateful people. We also arranged a time for them to come the following day if there was still no water available.
With the current heatwave and less rainfall than usual, there is no way of knowing how long the borehole will continue to provide for all of us. The fear that the water table may run dry forces us to also adopt water-saving measures.
A water crisis group has also been set up in our locality by concerned citizens to help residents deal with water problems and to promote water-saving measures. Many other homes and religious institutions with boreholes also provide water to the community around us, many of whom live beneath the bread line, and having to buy water is beyond them.
Building a Brighter Tomorrow Together
And as long as our family’s borehole is working, we practice Ubuntu. Ubuntu is the fundamental recognition that each individual belongs to a greater community.
“It is not safe to let strangers onto your property,” some say. But humanity propels us to take the risk because burdens are lessened when shared. A simple act of sharing water has instilled humility in me and hope in the community that we can overcome the difficulties we face together.
So, as the sun sets on our neighbourhood on yet another Sunday, bound by the spirit of Ubuntu, we stand together. Water is life. As we share water, a very precious and primal source of life, we share what is necessary for our collective survival. Every hardship gives us the opportunity to share ordinary acts of kindness. We are stronger together.
Meet Fathima S Meer
Hi! I'm Fathima S Meer, mum to four girls, who chose to indulge my love for writing in my forties.
Over the last five years, my journey into the world of blogging, proofreading, and editing has taken me on many unexpected adventures. I have met interesting people and learnt some new skills.
When I'm not penning my thoughts, I'm usually planning a holiday or catching up on politics.
Keep up with my past adventures here: https://bankedmemories.wordpress.com/
Or follow my work on my Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/FathimaWaxwordz