4 of The Biggest lessons that I have learnt growing up in South Africa.

Photo by Mpumelelo Macu.   This Article is dedicated to my late Grandfather, Anthony ‘Spabo’ Sithebe.

Photo by Mpumelelo Macu.

This Article is dedicated to my late Grandfather, Anthony ‘Spabo’ Sithebe.

Although I was born in New York, I identify completely with being South African because I was mostly raised there. And even though, my family’s heritage is not completely Southern African, I identify mostly with this culture and what it has offered me and The World. 

I will start with this, not one country is perfect because a country is made up of people and in any group of people, there is diversity. Different minds, bodies and souls that congregate together and unite. 

Although, South Africa may have some problems, I am very fortunate to have had grown up in this country. I currently live in Los Angeles, a place that I love; however, my heart will always be in Africa, no matter where I go because (this continent) leaves an impression so deep in your heart that you can never escape it once you have travelled to it. 

These are 4 of the best lessons that I learnt growing up in South Africa. 

1. Ubuntu (togetherness). 

Ubuntu is a word that is a loose translation to mean togetherness and connection. We are raised to believe that this is first before anything else. Practicing Ubuntu, reminds us that people are valuable and no money, job or house can replace the connection that you can develop with another person. Togetherness is above race, religion, ideologies and currency- it is based on humanity and what is in your heart. 

2. Forgiveness

Africa is a continent that is resilient. It is the most colonized continent and has had the most of its riches taken from it. But when you visit this continent, you will meet the kindest, friendliest and most genuine people that you have ever met in your life because we are raised to forgive. The rest of The World may see this as weakness; however, this mentality has taught me that if you want to take my money, my materials and steal from me, take it! You can take anything from me but my joy and my peace- the two most important things in life.

3. Strength

Having been born into a family of two parents who are both Scientists, one of them who was a Political Activist and wanted by The Apartheid South African government, I have seen first hand what strength and belief can do. I am so proud of my parents, who were raised in Soweto, and went on to achieve some of the most incredible things in This World. They have been examples to me of what is around you is not the end. If you believe in yourself and a dream, that belief is stronger than anything else that you might encounter along the way because once you achieve it, you will have forgotten about anything that you had to encounter along the way. 

4.  Hakuna Matata

You might be familiar with this phrase from The Lion King, which is an actual fable from Southern Africa. In loose translation, it means no worries ever. Which Africa (as a whole) embodies. Yes, everyone has problems but once you start listing your problems, the list can go on-and-on forever. Problems are a part of our daily lives but how we look at them and what we do with them can make them into worries. And when we worry, we are the most affected by our worries by anyone else. This saying has taught me that if you can’t do anything about something, let it go. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not stressed over