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hunhu

Moleen Madziva Moleen Madziva shona tribe member. rooted achiever. happiness chooser.

Moleen Madziva was raised in Zimbabwe, in the village community of Macheke. Having witnessed her community sink further into poverty, she founded the Macheke Sustainability Project. She is studying for a PhD in Sustainability Education. [www.machekeproject.org]

moleen_madziva_feature

I’m 37 years old. I was born in Zimbabwe and am studying for my PhD in the United States. I have a strong connection to my home, because all of the challenges we’ve been facing back in Zimbabwe.

What’s meaningful to me is at the level of spirituality. From a personal perspective, I want to know that I’m okay, that I have a right to be on this planet, and that I’m participating at my highest level of potential.

My spirituality has become the seeking of what’s sacred and meaningful, like engaging in my life’s purpose, which includes trying to help my village in Zimbabwe. I’m keen to understand how the world ticks, why people do the things they do, why a group of people doing so well can leave another group to really struggle. I’ve been called to a life of service and feel happiest when I’m helping, when I’m being kind to myself and others.

I was raised in a culture that has persevered through phases of slavery, colonization, and imperialism, yet still retains aspects of traditional Bantu culture. In my Shona tribe dialect, we have a concept called Hunhu (South African leader Nelson Mandela’s sector of the same tradition calls it Ubuntu). Hunhu is a keenness to be so kind that anyone who comes your way walks away feeling blessed or enriched by the experience of having been near you. It’s also feeling humility in the face of challenges, knowing we can get through them as long as we continue to work as a community.

I don’t know anyone in my village of Macheke who wants to get a PhD, and yet here I am, focused and committed to participating at a level of becoming a global scholar, gaining the respect of others so I can make the positive difference I’d like to make.

Happiness is a choice. A way to choose happiness is to get outside of one’s own personal concerns, to reach out, even if it’s only in the form of smiling more often. You can choose happiness by going out into the community and figuring out what’s broken and what can be fixed. To fill up your cup of meaningfulness, participate in some way – in any way.

The more you give, the easier it is to receive the gifts of happiness and feeling more settled and at peace, because you’ve gotten to a point where you’re willing to give, even when you’re feeling empty.

So, if you feel bored or unhappy, go help someone.

– Moleen Madziva

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