When the three-time Grammy Award winner, Bill Withers, wrote the song ‘lean on me’, it was flesh and blood that revealed the message to him. Although he withdrew from making music in the 1980s and died in April 2020 from heart complications, that song would become the inspiration of so many masses and stakeholders during the coronavirus pandemic. But in a world where economic melt-down and individualism keeps rising, why should we be leaned on?
Being leaned on can be extremely difficult. Many Africans in diaspora cut ties with their family back home who would always call for one favour or another. Hell, some would demand it. Some would rain curses for negative replies. The truth is – everyone is struggling. All over, the black-African or black-American et al, community have been criticized for having a sense of entitlement. An altitude, militating against self-development.
Yet, Ubuntu tells the story of the African children who were to contest for a basket of sweets, the winner would be whoever gets to it first. The children held each other and ran together so that all of them came first and shared the basket of sweets amongst themselves. When the Anthropologist asked them why they did that? They replied ‘Ubuntu – I am because we are. How can one be happy when the others are sad?’
If we follow the success stories of many businesses and entrepreneurs, as I have done for the past 15years, we would find these recurring factors – a seed, a help, a loan, a contact, a car, a temporal place, etc. Business administrators and sociologists agree on this – no business or human ever progressed alone without a shoulder to lean on. Today, the coronavirus has taught the world that only by Ubuntu will it survive again.
The needy must understand the complexities of life, do away with the black entitlement mentality, and make sure not to waste the shoulder he/she leans on, on frivolities. And the needed should think twice before judging or dismissing requests because after all said and done, ‘we all need somebody to lean on’.
Emmanuel Okonkwo (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an expert copywriter and writes for brands and lifestyles for De Critic an award-winning top 10 copywriting/PR agency in Nigeria and Critics over brands, lifestyles, movies and music. email@example.com