We are people because of the people: mindful personal growth

With “we are people because of the people” shows the anthropologist Tumiso Talamo, Master of Arts Anthropology student at UNISA, her rude awakening. I invited her to write this guest blogpost, because when I was in high school I loved anthropology so much, that I was determined to study this subject at university. Eventually I realised, after meeting in the cantonal library in Lugano, a girl who had started studying at Neuchâtel, that in fact, what she told me, she had to study, did not interest me. Psychology and philosophy were on my top list, but in the end I decided to study law. I thought that in this way I could encapsulate all aspects of these subjects into a subject that would materially lead me to financial fortune. Nonetheless, my life led me to discover that my anthropological nature is so deeply rooted in me, when I began with an in-depth study of tantra, I found myself in that Dominique who had been lost over the years. To my surprise I learnt that tantrics were in fact the first anthropologists, before this subject was officially taught at universities. To get a temporal idea, tantric philosophy and then religion began from the middle of the 1st millennium CE onwards.

we are people because of people
Tumiso Dolamo

A Rude Awakening by Tumiso Dolamo

I will be honest with you; I received the invite to write this article a while ago, but it took me a while to get on to it. Not just because of time but because what would I write? How would I put my ideas on paper in the correct manner? And the answer to those questions for a while was “I don’t know”. Until I realised that the past few months of my life as I entered my late twenties has actually been about figuring out what this blog by Dominique is about – a holistic approach to my own life. 

Many things have changed in my life over the past few years, changes as they say aren’t the easiest but come with rewards. It’s not always easy becoming the person you want to be, you cross paths with many different individuals and enter various spaces that alter you and just like that, a new flower on your tree blossoms. But is your trunk strong enough to stand the weather changes that life brings?.

Growing up feels like some sort of a mind game, one day you can’t wait to get older and the next, your alarm is going off at 6am and you wish you could turn back the time. Age comes with many glorious aspects such as freedom and opportunities but with all of those come responsibilities and balance. 

I am now in my second month of my first official “big girl job”, while still balancing side projects, being a present daughter, sister, friend and girlfriend. I love all my roles and I have prayed for the day I would have them all under my belt but what I realise I also need is the strength to carry all these titles while still carrying myself and my own crown. That strength, that’s where some would say the holistic approach to life would come in and align. 

we are people because of people

Holistic Living

It is said that one of the most common methodologies to approach life in a manner that would allow you to reach an optimized version of yourself is through the holistic approach. This approach is one that allows you to look at yourself as an individual who is more than their biological and social structure but rather to look at yourself as an individual with an inner essence. The concept of looking at yourself from this perspective is one that has traces of existing in African societies as stated by Mfecane as he mentions that in these societies, a person is seen as more than a body but as a person with an inner essence (Mfecane, 2018). This inner essence can be considered to be the individual’s faith or traditions and their performance of these. In modern days our inner essence can be looked at as the nurture of our minds, body and soul. 

It sounds a little hipster and little “better said than done” and no, it’s not. Without realising it I already had some agencies in place that had me on the right path, I have a good support system, I have various mental heath actions in plan, I aim to love and be loved, I fulfil my needs as best I can. The problem just comes in when the toxic traits win and the imbalance creeps in. 

“Umuntu ngu muntu nga bantu” means “we are people because of people”

The key, however, to making it work for me, is having the support system in my corner that is able to water me on my journey to growth. A system that makes waking up in the mornings to conquer another day of life a little easier with the love and encouragement. People cannot be who you are but as us South Africans hear constantly “umuntu ngu muntu nga bantu” meaning “we are people because of people”, personal growth is a journey we are confronted ourselves but those in your space can help you through it as you become the best you that you can be. 

Researcher Tumiso Dolamo

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