“We need enlightenment. We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love. Love creates patience and patience creates unity.” ~Malcolm X

“When a westerner is born, he or she enters a stream of time that is always flowing. When a point in life is passed, it is finished. When a western dies, he leaves the stream which flows on without him or her. BUT, for us, birth plunges us into a pool in which the waters of past, present, and future swirl around together. Things happen and are done with, but they are not dead. After we splash about a bit in this life, our mortal beings leave the pool but our spirits remain.” ~Miriam Makeda

The Zulu Personal Declaration is an example of Afrikan deep thought. It is the quintessential value system of the Zulu people of what it means to be human, and “is simultaneously personal and social, moral and ethical, political and spiritual, ecological and economical, aesthetic and cosmic [as it] guides the lives from before birth to after life.” The reason, the declaration can guide one before and after life is because it is the words of the Ancestors.

The declaration speaks of UQOBO, which is the essence of all things. It also refers to the Law, which equates to the Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) concept of MA’AT. The Law/MA’AT which is knowable refers to the natural order, balance, harmony and reciprocity.

In each human life there is an existential crisis or existential moments. The questions usually asked when one is on the famished road are, Who am I? What am I? Why am I? The declaration makes it clear that it is a challenge to be human; and one is in a state of perpetual evolution. However, each person is adequate, and have within them all they need to be the best they can be. In addition, according to the Zulu concept of umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, a person is a person through persons, and therefore, there is no greater crime than to frustrate another person’s purpose as that person attempts to realise the promise of being human. Therefore, others are mirrors of our consciousness. We recognise ourself in the way we treat others.

The Zulu Personal Declaration

I
I am
I am alive
I am conscious and aware
I am unique
I am who I say I am
I am the value UQOBO [essence]
I forever evolve inwardly and outwardly in response to the challenge of my nature
I am the face of humanity
The face of humanity is my face
I contemplate myself and see everything in me

I perceive; that which I perceive is form
Form is unchanging value
Value is eternal consciousness
Consciousness is that in which all things have their origin
It does not change; it exists from eternity to eternity
It is an infinite cluster of clusters of itself
It is forever evolving in response to the challenge of its nature
It is ULTIMATE VALUE
It is UQOBO
The value metamorphoses into a phenomenon
Each phenomenon is a total of smaller forms
Phenomena form clusters to produce other phenomena
The cosmic order is an indefinite total of forms and phenomena
I am a phenomenon; I am a person
I am UQOBO; I am consciousness
The infinity is a unity; it cannot be destroyed
I am a constituent of the unity
I cannot be destroyed
The infinity and I are inseparable
I cannot exist outside of the infinity
For, there is no outside of it.
Everything is inside the infinity

UQOBO is the Infinity
It is a Whole
It cannot be other than Whole; without me it cannot be Whole
Nothing can be added to or subtracted from the Whole
The infinity is alive
There is no death within it
There is life and perpetual agmination
That which is alive has purpose
Purpose is destiny

Perpetual evolution is the destiny of UQOBO
UQOBO evolves in response to the challenge of its nature
The Law regulates evolution
It is a constituent of UQOBO
It is the will of the Infinity
It is my will; it explains everything, for there are no mysteries
Mystery is the redoubt of the ignorant
Everything, everywhere, evolves according to the Law
The Law is knowable
I cannot violate the Law no matter what I do
I incarnate the Law
Everything I do translates into action one section of the Law of the other

The processes of the Law are irreversible
Ultimate Absurdity is the attempt to invert the Law
The inversion of the Law is a cosmic cataclysm
It is Ultimate Criminality
I am the reconciler of all contradictions
UQOBO, the Law and I are together the Definite Agminate
Nothing can separate us
I live now
And shall live forever in UQOBO
For, I am UQOBO
I am eternal; I am the secret that drives out all fear
Perpetual evolution is my destiny
I evolve forever, in response to the challenge of being human
I have a mind to light my path in the mazes of the cosmic order

The mind has many sides
It comprehends all things
It establishes my right to latitude; to be heard
It makes me feel at home in the cosmic order
My neighbour has a mind
It, also, comprehend all things
My neighbour and I have the same origins
We have the same life-experiences and a common destiny
We are the obverse and reverse sides of one entity
We are unchanging equals
We are faces which see themselves in each other
We are mutually fulfilling complements

We are simultaneously legitimate values
My neighbour’s sorrow is my sorrow
His joy is my joy
He and I are mutually fulfilled when we stand by each other in moments of need
His survival is a precondition of my survival
That which is freely asked or freely given is love
Imposed love is a crime against humanity
I am sovereign of my life
My neighbour is sovereign of his life
Society is a collective sovereignty
It exist to ensure that my neighbour and I realise the promise of being human
I have no right to anything I deny my neighbour
I am all; all are me

I come from eternity
The present is a moment in eternity
I belong to the future
I can commit no greater crime than to frustrate life’s purpose for my neighbour
Consensus is our guarantee of survival
I define myself in what I do to my neighbour.
No community has any right to prescribe the destiny for other communities

This universe I challenge a higher being than me to show
My knees do not quake when I contemplate my destiny
I know my way to eternity
I make obeisances to the million sides of the ciliate mind
The Eternal Person is Universal Man, Universal Woman and Universal Child
I am a Universal Constant; I am a Cosmic Constant
I am All-in-one; I am One-in-All
I am the circle which encompasses infinity
I am the point that is the beginning of the circle
I am umuntu, the knower of all probabilities and possibilities
There is nothing I cannot know
There is no tyranny I cannot crush
The value of water is H2O; it lives from eternity to eternity
Nothing exists anywhere which can destroy it
I am who I am
I am not a creature; nothing can destroy me
I am the self-evolving value NTU; I live forever and ever
I am the phenomenon MUNTU (life-force)
I am a person; a Ngubane; I am Ngogo Zabantu Nezezinkomo
I am cluster; I am Skeletons of People and their Cattle
The cluster has vital elements
They are the centre and core; the value of NTU
The body, the aura, the LAW and UQOBO
The LAW and UQOBO are the enivornment in which I exist
I am a Ngubane; the Skeletons tell my history; they, too, define me
I am adequate; I have in me all I need to be the best I can be
I have contempt for that which is not freely given to me
Whoever wishes me good
Let that good go to him
Whoever wishes me to be a prince
Let him become a prince
Whoever wishes that I should die
Let his wish be his fate
For I want nothing to which I have no right
I am the servant of my ancestors
My father is the messenger of my ancestors
My ancestors are humanity
All I live for is to be the best that I can be

I do not prescribe destiny for my neighbour
My neighbour is myself in a different guise
Equals do not prescribe destiny for each other
They hold conversations of minds
They oppose ideas with counter-ideas
This, my ancestors, told Shaka
Was the behaviour of civilised men

They told him this from their fortress cave
Shaka forgot nothing
He carved everything on stone
A Zulu forgets nothing
I carve everything on stone
My adequacy make me magnanimous
It makes me wise when strong and brave when weak

There are no frontiers I cannot cross
For, I, the person, am my own challenge
Disease has no power over me when I know
I determine my health; I am what I want to ber
I see mankind on the high road to eternity
It marches along many routes
The Light in the person guides the march
It leads mankind along safer routes to a better future
My harmonised personality enables me to see my goal clearly
Every moment is a rebirth into a new dimension of being human
My duty is to guide the rebirth
I and I alone guide the rebirth
I outgrow the use of crutches
I face the challenge of being eternal
I align the cells in my body
I know each, by name
I am self-knowledge without end
That which I eat, drink or learn I convert into myself
I can afford to be humble; I am not afraid; I am adequate
That doctrine shall prevail which is afraid of the person
I reject all dogmas; they create disorder in my personality
I am the enemy of all dogma, for dogma is a prison of the mind
I am the egg in my mother’s womb
I draw myself that which I need to evolve
Every moment of my life I evolve
For perpetual evolution is my destiny
I am the clot that extends itself into the person
I am the person who extends himself into humanity
The mind of humanity comprehends infinity
Humanity is the blanket that covers my body; it is my flesh
It is the matrix in which I grow
It is the face of the infinity which sees itself
For UQOBO knows itself
It knows its nature
It knows its destiny
It has within itself everything it desires
Is is itself
It has no race and no colour
The human value has no race and colour
Each value metamorphoses in response to its environment
Behind each complexion is the the environment
In each environment is a section of the Law
The Law is a Whole
UQOBO is an infinite cluster of forces
Life is one of its components
The Law is another
So is Energy
So are others; seen, unseen and incapable of being seen
My mandate is to know them all
To understand them all
I move from eternity to eternity to understand them
My sojourn on earth is a moment in my never-ending journey
My destiny is forever to respond to the call of the morrow
I have in me all I need t make the journey
I move from one dimension of being human to another
I move in proportion to the degree that I know
Knowledge is the key to the gates of every dimension
My title to the key is that I am human
I contemplate myself to discover myself
The key is my birthright
He is the enemy of humanity who denies me the key
For the key is the Law
I am born according to the Law
I live, grow and die according to it
My mother is the Law
My father is the Law
My relatives and neighbours are the Law
We are all bound together by the Law
My neighbours are mankind
Mankind is the Law
Phenomena divide and fuse according to the Law
Conflict is a dimension of the Law
Conflict is a moment of agmination
The stages of agmination are collision, disintegration and fusion
Harmony and equilibrium are the fulfilment of the Law
The world is the Law
Everything is the Law; I am everything
I am the Law and my neighbour’s will
I am the Law; I am a jewel of the cosmic order
The Lawis my and my neighbour’s will
I am a value; I have all the power to be what I want to be
There is glory in being human; in being a self-defining value
My name is Man; my name is Woman
I formed myself from my mandate
My mandate was the Law
I entered the earth as an act of will
I came to realise the promise of being human
To realise the glory of being human

To discover more satisfying dimensions of being a person
I am not alone; I have never been alone
I shall never be alone
For I am a cluster
I am Father-Mother
I am the cluster of phenomena which constitue me
I am Father-Mother-Child
I am the past, the present and the future
I have no beginning and no end

I am the geodesic circle in which Father and Mother merged to become Me
I extend myself into the child
I am the brick out which society is built
I am the Eternal Person
In everything I think and do, I describe myself
I show how I face the challenge of being human
The Law is a component of UQOBO
It has an infinite number of sections
The sections interact on each other
The interactions produce thought
The Law interaction on itself in me produces thought
I translate thought into action
I create the world I desire through action
I evolve in response to the challenge of my nature
Thus to evolve is life’s purpose for me and my neighbour
We have in us everything we need to evolve
To discover satisfying dimensions of being human
To realise the promise of being persons
I am a witness of eternity
So is my neighbour
We are witnesses of what we are
We are living moments in eternity
I am a tiny component of UQOBO
I am an element, a substance and incarnation of UQOBO
I am an incarnation of the Law
I live in the Law; and the Law lives in me
It acts through me and fulfills itself freely
When I am ignorant I disorganise the Law’s interactions
I create disharmonies in my personality
I hurt my neighbour
I sow dissension in my environment
I frustrate life’s purpose for humanity
I flee from the challenge of being human
I live in terror of myself
I plant terror into my neighbour’s psyche
I terrorise all human beings
I move the world in cycles of conflict to catastrophe
I finally collapse midst the ruins I build
I rot in the prison of the mind I create
Passers-by note the stink
Here lies one who fled from the challenge of being human, they say
For I create my destiny in everything I do

I and I alone know this destiny
The challenge of being human is forever to explore myself
It is forever to understand my neighbour

Forever to reveal the power of the Definitive Agminate
The cosmic order is the seraskierate of the Definitive Agminate
I am the vizier of the seraskierate
The Law is my spectre
To know it is the challenge of being human
Forever to discover it is the promise of being human
Perfection is the continuing response to the ever-beckoning hand of the Law
Conquest forever distorts my personality
It is the aching wound that never heals
I listen to the call of the morrow
When to Ncome I shall return
When to Ulundi I shall return
I wait in the shadows of eternity
I wait for the day of rebirth into a satisfying destiny
I do not apologise for being human
I walk in humility in the presence of the person
If aught there is to worship, it is the person
To worship the person is to glorify myself

The person is real; he needs no oracles to interpret him
He has compassion in his bosom; the gods are capricious
They are crutches for all partisans for ignorance
The gods are trustees of my estate; I am the master
I grow in understanding
I outgrow the need for divine trustee; I stand on my feet
I march into the future on my terms
Nothing can strike terror into my heart

For I am uqobo of UQOBO
I know every one of my cells
My mother taught me how to count them
My mother is all women; all women are my mother
I prostrate myself before all women
I cry out to them: Arise, mothers of the person
Lead your children along safer routes to a better future!
To all men I cry: Arise, fathers of the person
Create the world in which it will be no crime to be your children!
For all I desire is to realise the promise of being human
Good and evil are related
Either translates the Law into action
Virtue is knowledge and practice of the Law
Vice is ignorance of the Law

To know the Law is the glory of being human
It is ukuba ngumuntu
Perpetually to be responsible in ukuba ngumuntu
I have all I need forever to be responsible
For I am the source of all meaning, all value and all authority
I build a Civilisation in homage to the person
The highest points reached by other civilisations are in the sky
These zeniths are the levels from which I start building
I entered the earth to create order out of chaos
I recognise the person as my Light
I pay homage to the Light

The Light will prevail
For I know the heights from which they made me fall
I know the depths into which they thrust me
I know I shall prevail
For I am who I say I am
He has not been born who shall say he has conquered me!

Source:
African Intellectual Heritage by Molefi Kete Asante and Abu S. Abarry , editors
MA’AT: Returning to Virtue – Returning to Self by Hunter Havlin Adams III

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