Monday, October 5, 2009

Ubuntu: I am Because WE are

I Am Because We Are. Watch it!! (photo credit:

I saw a beautiful documentary film today called I Am Because We Are (entire film is available below).

I had heard about it in the Spring, even gone to the official launch party in NYC. But it was made and backed by Madonna, and in the age of haute celebrity endorsements, I have become skeptical of their attention to something. How much do they really know? How much do they really care?? How long will their attention last?? Long after the cool is gone, will they still be around??

Today, in search of inspiration, I picked it up. I am glad I did.

I Am Because We Are claims to be a look at Malawi, but its really a more universal story of poverty in the developing world. The film looks at the bigger picture, examining a smaller problem (the increasing number of orphans) against the larger backdrop of economic development (where the orphaning is coming from and how it affects global poverty). There is an interconnectedness to their theory that I so believe in-- examining the history, the need for responsibility, the lack of leadership, a variety of indigenous perspectives, the positives, the negatives...its all in there. Alongside the development porn, there is an equal showcasing of the laughter, community, and resilient spirit of the locals. There are perspectives of kids, adults, Malawians, Africans, and international people with a vested interest in the country or region. The opinions are educated. It is REFRESHING to hear Malawians analyze their own country's situation in a most educated manner examining causes and effects, and solutions, rather than the typical western viewpoints. Its wonderful to hear Africans speak about their continent in an intelligent manner. I GREATLY appreciated this. The West, doesn't have all the answers. Each country needs to come up with its own.

The title comes from the Zulu word "Ubuntu" meaning "I am because we are." Think about it!! I can't think of a better term to showcase our interconnectedness.

Good News. I learned that you can watch the entire film for FREE on YouTube. Check it out here on YouTube and below (NOTE: I recommend watching it on the YouTube site. Its much faster and you get the larger, widescreen version!)

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