Hearty and warm greetings from the College of the Transfiguration, Grahamstown, South Africa. We began the 2021 academic year amidst a lot of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic as thus far it has claimed over 50,000 lives in South Africa. We are in a perpetual state of grief that leaves one wondering, who is next? The College has not lost anyone to the virus, nor had any infections reported. I hope this will translate into an opportunity for us to have in-person classes, so we are monitoring and evaluating the safety of doing so in the coming months.
The pandemic has caused havoc and yet it has revealed prospects that otherwise would not have been explored had we not migrated our academic and formation programmes online. One is constantly asking oneself, what can be done? What is possible and who can we reach out to? The sense of the “global village” is real for all of us. When appropriately practiced, it elevates the concept of Ubuntu, “I am because we are,” to a new platform. I have experienced Ubuntu as we follow the safety protocols—wear face masks, socially distance, wash and sanitise your hands.
The world needs Ubuntu even more so with the distribution of the vaccine throughout the world, especially to developing countries. We cannot say, as the world, “I am because we are,” when some countries are inoculating their citizens and other countries are not accessing the vaccine. In this case, Ubuntu takes on a new meaning, that of “I am not well if you are not.” “I am not healthy if you are not.” More than ever our wellbeing as countries and communities is tied to each other’s. My hope and prayer are that soon we will be well again, and, God willing, we will see each other and embrace.
The Rev. Canon Vicentia Kgabe, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Transfiguration, Grahamstown