Creating an African Pilgrimage: The Challenges of Existential Learning
The Indlela YoBuntu (the Way of uBuntu) is a 1000 km pilgrimage walk which begins in Grahamstown in South Africa, and ends at the humble prison cell of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, near Cape Town. It will offer the opportunity to explore some of the bigger questions of life, in an African context.
The concept of ubuntu refers to the African understanding of what it means to be fully human, of how we can be the best we can be. In particular, ubuntu refers to a special sense of shared identity and responsibility, a humble appreciation that my worth and my purpose arises out of my being-in-relation – in the first instance to those around me, but ultimately, to the physical and spiritual world of which I am an inseparable part. Indlela YoBuntu aims to offer modern-day pilgrims an opportunity:
• to experience Africa
• to learn about various African understandings of life and the world
• to contemplate the writings, teachings and examples of great African leaders
• to appreciate the beauty of Creation
• to gain an understanding of the delicate balances of nature
• to think deeply about the relationship between people and the environment
• to discover first-hand a quiet meaningful space to be and to reflect on life and their place and purpose in it
• to explore/deepen their relationship with their Creator
For this to become a real and meaningful possibility, however, will demand rigorous research, creative thinking, disciplined will-power, sensitive negotiation, courageous belief, and energetic action.
This paper focuses on the educational challenges of developing the necessary conditions for existential learning (contemplating the bigger questions of life) on such a pilgrimage.
Keywords: Existential Learning, Pilgrimage
Prof. George Euvrard
Dean, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University