How do we practice Ujamaa, without addressing the lack of cooperation that is flowing in our communities and tribes? As a starting point, what does Ujamaa actually mean? Ujamaa: The Swahili word for "cooperative economics" or "cooperative living" The characteristics of cooperative economics are:
Principle of sharing: We must share with each other without expecting anything in return.
Principle of caring: We must care for each other as brothers and sisters.
Principle of helping each other: We must help one another to rise up.
Principle of working together: We must work together as a single unit to accomplish goals.
We can easily see why this principle may not be followed in our everyday lives. The trained tendency is always to put ourselves first, but there are ways that we can learn to practice Ujamaa and make it a part of our everyday lives. Here are some examples of how and why we don't practice cooperation in our community and tribes:
1. Lack of true education & poverty
1. Poor organization (no true institutional support)
3. Family conflict
4. Lack of time and energy
5. Misunderstanding of the situation
6. Self sabotage: we are our own worse enemies
7. Black leaders are ineffective, no sense of urgency
8. The mentality of the average person is stuck in the past. Outdated customs and culture
9. Police harassment (social injustice)
10. Media portrays us like this
Ujamaa relates to an ancient African economic system of cooperation. Many people have adapted this strategy in modern times. But the trick to adapting Ujamaa lies in balancing individual effort with cooperation. We need both!
We use Ujamaa by practicing cooperative economics among ourselves and our communities, making a commitment to contribute some of our efforts to serve and help others. Here are some examples of how we can begin to increase cooperation within our community:
1. Use our collective resources wisely
2. Prioritize community projects
3. Build unity among our community
4. Build a system of accountability and support
5. Commit to being accountable and supportive in the Black community in order to build better communities for ourselves
6. Actively build up the stock of knowledge and wealth in our culture
Proverb of the Day:
"While the sun is shining, bask in it."
Ujamaa Toast Podcast