Building Bridges

As construction continues to take place in Umbumbulu, the experience of undertaking this whole project grows richer and richer. It has been our goal from the onset to make this venture about much more than just building the structure, but moreover there is the indispensable component of community building that we seek to establish; and the project of Umbumbulu is the first leap towards cultivating a larger community that cares for each other.

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While this has been our original disposition from the beginning, it would be completely misleading to say that we foresaw the impact to manifest itself in such a manner. The magnitude in which the community-building component of this project has developed, has by far exceeded our most optimistic projections and expectations. Briefly, in this article, we will  outline the significance of the process of building bridges, that has been accomplished through this project.

 South Africa is one of the most diverse countries in the world, and while at first glance this appears to be something to proudly exclaim; the truth of the matter is that this diversity has not always played itself out in the most harmonious manner. On the contrary, there are still underlying traces and even more blatant expressions of discrimination and arguably the most notorious form of discrimination is racism.

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Furthermore, South Africa is still relatively young into democracy, in the post-apartheid regime and its pretty evident, when looking at interactions between the races involved in this unfortunate history that some wounds are still yet to heal, and some misconceptions are yet to be ironed out. As a result, interactions between the diverse races represented in South Africa have played out to be in sparse occasions of harmony and unity, and more on the other extreme of hostile indifferences and an ever widening and deepening gulf.

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Without going too deep into the socio-political dynamics of South Africa, let us return to the crux of this discussion, and that is to project the positive social influence that Ubuntu Design Group has exerted through the project in Umbumbulu. One of the primary objectives has been to do more than just build the house, but even more importantly to build the community of Umbumbulu.

In the pursuit of this objective, we have built bridges far bigger and broader than we had initially planned; our quest for community building went beyond the boundaries of Umbumbulu and its people; but it penetrated through to other communities, races, cultures; who have all converged to the building site to participate in this life changing experience of helping those who cannot help themselves.

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We have been blown away by this reaction but that is a gross understatement of how much it meant to the local people. For them to experience the different races come to the doorsteps of their community to stretch out a helping hand to pull them out was something that they would have never conceived. Previously hostile and negative suppositions about other people were expelled and a burst of hope, friendship and warm smiles was ushered into the community of Umbumbulu.

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This is the beginning of the greater change and community building that we seek to spread throughout all of the communities of South Africa; even spreading to all parts of the world, and in this movement seeks to be radically inclusive and change the lives of all those who participate in it.

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