by Craig Makhosi Charnock, UBuntu Bridge and YhoXhosa founder
Please note that this retreat is about learning Xhosa, and experiencing community in a different way. Any yoga, movement, or meditation classes are completely just an added option for participants, entirely optional and accessible for all levels! This is not a fancy yoga retreat! ???? Right, so ……
Yoga simply means union (or connection) through practice.
Any practice performed with a conscious intent to connect with our inner selves – whether through postures, breathing, acts of charity, studying of wise texts, surfing, singing or dancing – forges reunion with what was perceived to be separate and reminds us that we are actually One (Sibanye).
Separation is an experience of one layer of reality but the deeper truth is that we are more connected than we are separate. You can ask Einstein anyway. 😉
So what about the yoga of learning a language?
Bridges of Unity:
We were separated systematically by Apartheid (which literally means separation-ness) not just by skin-level visual symbols, but by language, allowing groups of people to become separated and divided by sight and sound.
Despite changes to legislation pertaining to race, language dynamics in South Africa are still a barrier between groups; a chasm and a separator. Status, education, privilege, success, superiority and dignity are bound up in language.
Inequality and disharmony are felt more strongly by those who do not speak the dominant languages and are more easily forgotten by others accustomed to their comforts and privileges.
If we do not build bridges and cross this language divide, the gaps in our society will continue to grow, and is that something we can really allow for our children?
UBuntu is an Nguni word that speaks to what it means to be human, and to the role and value of our relationships to a creator, to our ancestors, to nature, to family, friends, community, and ultimately to all the aspects of our Self.
As a language forms new synaptic and neural pathways in the brain, allowing a new way of being and of identifying, one can see more clearly through the veil of separation and difference that our society has imposed on us. Yoga practice has a similar effect.
Transformation & Belonging:
I have taught Xhosa in many contexts since 2006, following a personal calling and an intensive period spent in the rural villages learning Xhosa and connecting with the culture and ways of being of AmaXhosa.
I am deeply grateful to the people who welcomed and supported me there, across many different villages and hills, townships and cities, and UBuntu Bridge is entirely built upon the requests of others for me to continue this work.
I attribute many positive transformations in myself, and my sense of belonging in and to South Africa, largely due to this process of learning indigenous languages and connecting as Mandela said, “to people’s hearts”.
Community Invitation and Support:
Our presence in these villages brings income and joy to many of the local families, and in my personal capacity and as a collective, we have been invited on countless occasions to return. By bringing culturally sensitive and respectful business to the doors of people, on their request, we are reversing the dynamics of old, and allowing people to create livelihood and prosperity without leaving their homes for the cities, or changing their culture, language, or way of life.
Learning and health go hand in hand. Health allows learning and as we learn we make more healthy choices, opening our bodies, minds and hearts. By healing ourselves we heal our ancestors and the planet. It can be difficult work, but it is perhaps the most important and rewarding work we can do. Every ancient wisdom tradition offers glimmers of this truth and of the path to freedom, and so many of the answers we seek as a society have already been in existence for thousands of years.
Together we Grow:
“To go quick, go alone. To go far, go together”,
as the oft quoted proverb goes. Without doubt, it helps and is more fun to learn with others. My journey of learning Xhosa has often been isolated, and at times lonely, often far from my home and the cultural comforts I grew up with.
So it is with great excitement and gratitude that we look forward to welcoming you and sharing this journey, which gets easier, more fun and more influential, as more of us walk it.
Do let us know if you have any questions via comments below or email :)c
Craig Makhosi Charnock
PLEASE NOTE: Bookings and early bird discounts are still available for group of 4 bookings until 19 May 2023, or by special request.
P.S. Need online course or coaching to improve your Xhosa?