[#DecolonizeBookshelves2022] “I Am, Because You Are”


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Refiloe Moahloli Illustrated by Zinelda McDonald Published by Amazon Crossing Kids (2022) ISBN: 154203566X (ISBN13: 9781542035668). Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.

The publisher’s note at the start of the book defines ubuntu as:

… a concept of shared humanity, compassion, and oneness. This ancient philosophy is a part of many African cultures, including South Africa, where this book was first published.

Essentially it stands for: “I am, because you are.”

It reminded me of the Filipino value of pakikisama, pakikitungo and pakikiisa – whereby there is this communal sense of togetherness, a shared identity, a one-ness with the other.

It also makes the idea very accessible to young readers without diminishing the power of what one does to others, one does to one’s self as well. The interconnectedness of who we are as human beings, despite our outward differences was likewise highlighted in the narrative.

Moreover, there is an acknowledgment that hurting or ignoring others is tantamount to hurting one’s self as well:

I truly believe that if more people become aware of ubuntu and practice it in their daily lives, how much better and more peaceful our world will be.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 28 out of target 100

March 24, 2022 at 06:30AM Myra Garces-Bacsal