Shwenkuru, as we fondly refer to my grandfather, is a fountain of knowledge. Every word that flows from his mind has nourishing wisdom. My siblings and I nicknamed him Encyclopaedia. He has knowledge on almost every topic that sits underneath the sun. Grandfather is very old. His shrivelled skin, mane of grey hair and husky but strong voice is evidence of his age. He is in his late eighties. We are optimistic that he will live to the nineties and bless us with more knowledge from his great fountain. He says he is self-educated and got his knowledge from reading.
Grandfather looks younger than his age. He also looks more youthful than most of his age mates and has not suffered any severe ailments that come with old age. “You must stay away from junk food, excess alcohol, and reckless sedentary lifestyle if you want to taste this golden age.” So, he constantly reminds us whenever we visit him. He has a garden of almost all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Succulent guavas, bouncy pawpaw, the tasty jackfruit, pineapples, passion fruits, gooseberries which sprout everywhere in the garden like common weeds, oranges, lemons, and bananas. We always feast from the bounty of his garden when we visit him; filling our arms with some of the fruits when we head back home to the city.
Every time we visit grandfather, he has something to educate us on. On my last visit, he talked about how days were glorious back in the past, how the world was green with forests that hosted all kinds of flora and fauna. “The world was one happy green village those days. Before, greedy ambitions of people made them slaughter down trees and destroy our environment.” He told us how Ubuntu reigned in the community and was used to looking after both society and its environment. I was to learn that Ubuntu is where people fraternize to work together for the common good of the community.
While I sat in a taxi, I thought of what my grandfather had said on the ride back home. The news always had a story about another unfortunate forest massacred by unscrupulous people that wanted land for settlement, the establishment of industries, and even farming. Then there were reports of global warming which was rampant because of negligence towards the environment. I looked at my surroundings as the taxi sped off. Everything flashed through my eyes like a video in fast forward; The litter carelessly thrown, the swamps wailing over the reclamation, and then the trees cleared away in large chunks. It was painful to watch. I wondered what the little green village grandfather looked like back in the day.
As I walked home after the taxi had dropped me to my destination. I realized one thing. The duty of conserving and looking after our environment is an Ubuntu responsibility. We should work hand in hand to look after our environment; De-campaigning deforestation, proper disposal of litter, protesting against swamp reclamation, and all kinds of practices that degrade the beauty of our environment. Conservation of the environment is a noble duty we ought to embrace together.