The power of the African spirit of Ubuntu…

“In Africa there is a concept known as Ubuntu – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others, that if we accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and accomplishment of others”. This preface was written by Nelson Mandela in the book Mandela’s Way – Lessons on Life by Richard Stengel. It is a profoundly inspiring book which captures the spirit of this extraordinary man – warrior, martyr, husband, statesman and moral leader. We long for heroes, but have too few. Nelson Mandela is perhaps the last pure hero on the planet.

In 1996 Nelson Mandela called on African footballers to help mobilize the public and serve as campaign ambassadors to “Kick Polio Out of Africa”. Football is a team sport – a unifying global force, much like the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) which has so many players. Rotary and its global partners need footballers from the 32 countries represented at the 2010 FIFA World Cup to help raise awareness and the much needed funds to finish the job. This world cup is not just about the game. This world cup presents a strong image of a united Africa to the world – and the profound power of the African Ubuntu spirit.

The  journey of the football totalled 26 deliveries through 23 polio-affected countries (with an additional stop to Nigeria), exiting through Cairo on June 12, then to Montreal. A final photograph (left) of the DHL  support team and KPOA coordinator June Webber at the exit event.

On June 16, 2010 DHL delivered not one, but two balls to Montreal Rotarian Annie Chan who then became the custodian of the precious cargo. The other ball was the back-up ball used in Cairo. The original was jam-packed with signatures – so many wanted to sign the ball as it left the continent of Africa.


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