TED Talk: Boyd Varty On 'Ubuntu', Nelson Mandela & The Londolozi Game Reserve


All images from Londolozi Game Reserve

It’s fitting that Boyd Varty delivered his recent TEDWomen talk ‘What I learned from Nelson Mandela’ minutes after receiving the news that the great Mandela had died.

Focused on the South African ideology ‘Ubuntu’ or “I am; because of you”, Varty explained the meaning that “people are not people without other people.”

Perhaps no other person embodied Ubuntu better than South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, who strove for peace, equality and dignity.

Wiki goes further, defining ‘ubuntu’ as a Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to ‘human kindness.’ In South Africa and Zimbabwe, ‘ubuntu’ is a form of humanist philosophy, ethic or ideology known as ‘ubuntuism’ or ‘hunhuism’.  The concept that society — not a transcendent being — gives human beings their humanity.

Reflecting on Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, Varty shared memories of  Madiba coming to rest and reflect at the Londolozi Game Reserve, owned by his family for four generations. The safari destination sits on the Sand River in the larger Sabi Sand Game Reserve in eastern South Africa.

In his TEDWomen Talk, Boyd explains that “In the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the best parts of ourselves reflected back to us.” The concept of interrelatedness, or ‘ubuntu’ binds humans, animals and nature herself.  “We would like to be pioneers of the age of restoration,” says Varty talking about Londolozi. Just as Nelson Mandela came to Londolozi to restore his own spirit, Varty has dedicated his life to “restoration of land, people and the human spirit.”

By providing environmental, English and computer education to the people who live and work in Londolozi, Boyd Varty and his family are creating an economically and socially sustainable model for conservation.” ~ Anne