Ubuntu is essentially about togetherness, and how all of our actions have an impact on others and on society. Obama once said:
There is a word in South Africa — Ubuntu — that describes his greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.
I met Tadej Peric many years ago. He was organising a fashion show hosted by me and we immediately became friends. Even if he was younger than me, I was fascinated by his way of thinking, freedom and the fact, that his mind was something special. At that time he was dreaming about the possibility to leave Slovenia and travel around the world; it was just one of his biggest desires and I knew, that he was going to realise it. Tadej became a business man all over the globe, at the end he came to Africa, fell in love with the amazing people of the country and wrote a book about Ubuntu. It’s a big pleasure for me to write about this philosophy, which is actually a way of living. It would be nice to live in a better world and to get used to a very simple word, which can change everything: togetherness. Please, let me introduce you this amazing friend and his work.
A book about Ubuntu, which is a way of living, that makes us better. Why Ubuntu and how did you come across this philosophy?
I agree with the observation that Ubuntu is more a way of living than just a philosophy and that is exactly how I became acquainted with Ubuntu – through the beautiful South African people that live and breathe Ubuntu. I guess when you immerse yourself in a local culture it is a natural consequence that you get to live the way the locals live, you get to understand their thinking and their being as well as their philosophies and way of living.A friend of mine told me years ago “I see Ubuntu in you, you live it and it shows”. From there onwards I started researching the word a bit more finding out that Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu were some of the people that kept referring to this philosophy, which really means I am, because we are. It is simply about kindness, oneness and togetherness.
It’s about being the best you can be, it’s about doing the best you can do, for yourself, for others and with others.
From Slovenia to Africa, your life path has always been full of challenges and changes. Somehow I get the feeling that now you’ve just settled down and maybe even found what you were looking for. Why did you choose Africa?
In one of the chapters in the ebook, I talk about my belief that we create ourselves instead of finding ourselves. My desire for traveling and living around the world came from a pure desire for traveling and absorbing foreign landscapes and cultures, also, I really wanted to grow in the tourism and hospitality space and to do so around the world as opposed to staying in one place most of my life. A friend of mine from Koper told me that even in elementary school I always used to say that I would travel ….and that tells a story…wouldn’t you agree? My father had his share of traveling in his youth and my mom came from Croatia to start her life in Slovenia when she was barely in her teenage years…so I guess in a way it was inevitable for me to also embark on my very own journey.
My travelling journey did not begin based on a quest or search for something or that something was missing. It was purely a dream of traveling, just like somebody else dreams of being a doctor or accountant. Traveling gives me an adrenalin rush just like an accountant gets an adrenalin rush by working with numbers – that is to me the most practical way to explain it.
I was never a fan of the word “settling down” (it always felt like the word was definitive and final, while I feel I am infinite -a bit of philosophy here) at least not in my 20s, however now years later I can certainly say that I am more settled than I used to be, even though this does not mean that something might not change in the future. If it was for me I would love to live with all my loved ones in a different country every month!
South Africa has filled me with an incredibly special kind of energy and that is why I have decided to continue my personal journey in this country, I feel a very homely energy here. Here I experienced people talking about purpose on a different level and working towards that purpose.
Also the fact that we possibly all come from this continent and that Ubuntu talks about a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity could potentially be what draws me to this country.This of course does not mean that I am not attached to my roots, actually when you are away you appreciate your roots even more.
I still believe that we come from one of the most beautiful corners of the world and that Slovenia is certainly one of the most diverse and unique countries in the world.
You wrote the book in a very special period of our lives, during a lockdown period and in a moment of great uncertainty. How do you personally look at the world right now?
The book was finalized already in January 2020 but due to the covid-19 pandemic situation I have decided to include some of my thoughts on society and social distancing.
How do I look at the world? I see chaos but I also see beauty and kindness.
I see a world that has achieved tremendous technological advancements in the last 20 years, I see potential, I see opportunities, however I also see a world that needs healing, I see societies falling apart , I still see and read about modern day slavery , exploitation of people and an omnipresent racism and xenophobia.
I see how some countries are seeking alternative planets for us to live, but at times I feel we can’t even learn to live on this one as we should, in harmony and ubuntu.
But I always try to look positively into the future, I think that we should all look at it positively, because if not … then what is the meaning of it all, to be depressed and always complain? … That is not the best recipe for life.
In the book there is a lot of amazing art, quotes and also a very special guest author, Ndaba Mandela. I know you visited him and although Nelson is sadly gone, his energy was certainly still felt in his house. What were the feelings?
I wanted to do something special with my book and I thought that adding art in it could bring joy and smiles to the readers, and quotes from various Authors and leaders could bring additional inspiration and motivation to someone that needs just that. Ultimately, human expression is important, whether through art or words.
Words are important, words can hurt, and words have the power to help or heal as well.
I have met Ndaba Mandela several years ago, and at a particular occasion we were supposed to meet for a business-related meeting. ( It is important to mention that Nelson Mandela has several grandchildren, however Ndaba lived with Nelson in their Johannesburg residence since he was 11 years old.) When Ndaba confirmed the location of that meeting, that happened to be at that same residence where Ndaba still lives. On my arrival I had to have clearance as the property is still protected by the South African Police Force and once I have entered the room where Mandela spent most of his time and met people like Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama and many other influential leaders I was left breathless. Most of all I felt a particular calm yet powerful energy that I simply cannot properly explain with words. You have to also understand that I see Nelson Mandela as well as his former wife and activist Winnie Madikizela Mandela as true revolutionaries that simply wanted equal rights for the people of their land and that they have spent their lives fighting for these rights. So that a “Pobezan” iz Pobegov pri Kopru” has had the privilege to be invited into Nelson Mandela’s home was for me a bit surreal at that time and a very humbling experience. Also , the fact that Ndaba Mandela accepted my request to be a guest author in the book it is for me something very special and I thank him for that.
Some may be facing the word Ubuntu for the first time today, but if we search for it online, we find that in the last year many people have started to deal with it. Coincidence? I find it hard to believe … What is your explanation?
I was asking myself the same question. With hundreds of different worldwide philosophies people are talking about UBUNTU now. Suddenly I had people contacting me from the Netherlands, Slovenija and Australia telling me how people in their circles talk about Ubuntu as the way of living from now.
The answer to me is rather simple; the world needs kindness, togetherness and unity. I would like to share a quote from my ebook about Ubuntu that may offer some additional insight to your question:
Ubuntu is needed, it’s imperative, as I am because we are , but that does not mean we need to have the same plan and views, it means that we should support and embrace each other. We should focus on living better, by living differently, together.
If I ask you to make a brief recap of your life and most of all, what you have learned so far, what would you say?
I trust that all the readers that would have an interest in reading my book will find all of these answers in it, however I can share a few life lessons I have learnt that I think are important ;
- That you are the master of your destiny
- That time flies but that you are the pilot
- That storms and rough seas are necessary for our personal growth.
- That you can settle in your own way or never settle at all – create the best reality for you!
- Know that you are enough just as you are
- Do not chase perfection, rather seek change and progress
- There is no “one fits all reality” instead there are as many realities as there are people
- Rock bottoms situations can guide us into new beginnings – as our foundations are demolished we can do nothing but start to rebuild new, perhaps more solid foundations ( and that perhaps relates also to the global situation due to the pandemic)
- Take risks instead of collecting regrets
- You are unique and that is your power
- Learn from history and think of the future, however, realise that what is
important is the “NOW”, that is all we truly have.
The book has certainly an international flair due to all your traveling; a South African Guest Author, beautiful art and the foreword is written by Natalie Cvikl Postruznik from Slovenia. What were you looking for when thinking about the Author of the foreword of your ebook?
The foreword was for me a very important part of the ebook and I must be honest, I knew immediately who would I want it to be written by, and that is Natalie Cvikl Postruznik.We met fifteen years ago at an educational institution in the field of public relations, where Natalie was the director and lecturer at the time and we stayed in touch through the years even though our journey took us to various directions. I believe that Natalie , just like me has had various purposes in life and she is constantly re-inventing herself, and I think we have this trait in common.
Natalie is a force to be reckoned with; she is a mother, a wife, a lecturer at DOBA University, a coach, she is the Director of Insights doo and Founder & Chief Editor of the publication and portal Navdihni Me – a platform that shares inspirational stories of people – because it is time for good stories.
Natalie can wear various hats and she excels in everything she sets her mind to, and most importantly I have always seen her as a mentor figure – and that is why I have asked her whether she would be interested in writing the foreword of my ebook – she accepted, and for that I am extremely grateful.
If you are interested in purchasing the English version of Tadej’s e-book, you can do it here: www.essenceofubuntu.com
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