Sawubona. It’s an African Zulu greeting that means “I see you.”
On the surface, it’s similar to our customary “hey” or “hello”.. however digging further you’ll find it has a long oral history and meaningful significance.
It says, “I see your personality. I see your humanity. I see your dignity and respect.”
The customary response is ‘Ngikhona’ and means “I am here”.
I see you. I am here.
It reminds me of other greetings, like I see Myself, in your eyes.
This idea of seeing each other requires total non judgement and to me, it’s the ultimate love.
The Zulu greeting and response is really an exchange that we all desire and thrive from, this idea that until you saw me, I didn’t exist. By recognizing me, you brought me into existence. We can say we’re all our own people and it’s a solo journey and all that stuff but I am certain it’s only in the recognition of each other that we ever recognize ourselves.
A Zulu folk saying clarifies this, “Umuntu ngumuntu nagabantu”, meaning, “A person is a person because of other people”.
When we really see one another, we’re exchanging the greatest honour and reverence and as a result we’re adding more love to the world in a viral, compounding way, singing a light upon them in a way that brings them to life in the fullest capacity.
What if this was our only real work, our only responsibility, our one thing?
Shoes, thanks for authentically seeing people and reminding us of this beautiful responsibility today.