Integrity is at the core of the Bantu life philosophy. This philosophy states that as a human being, you are the beneficiary of the love, work and commitment of those who came before you and, therefore, you too have a duty to love and serve humanity to the best of your ability.
If you accept this, you will, undoubtedly, adopt honesty and uprightness as your guiding principles.
Obviously, it is not always easy for us to remain honest or upright throughout our lives. Too often, we feel compelled to subordinate truth, uprightness and justice to the demands of our loved ones, or our bosses, or the communities from which we derive a sense of identity, pride and belonging.
Nevertheless, we must strive to resist these pressures. If we have already fallen prey to them, we must resolve to free ourselves. We can hardly delight in our actions when, deep down, we know that they are unjust, dishonest and wrongful. If we view ourselves as the privileged beneficiaries, keepers and transmitters of the love, efforts and commitment of our predecessors, we would not be happy to see this wonderful legacy defiled by dishonesty, injustice, greed and so many other things that are threatening our integrity.
No soul should be above ours when it comes to preserving, improving and passing on the legacy of love, work and commitment of the people who came before us. “Ye nsísim woe wa tag?” (Is your soul rejoicing?), my grandfather used to ask me whenever he would either chastise me or urge me to think about the possible consequences of my planned actions. The happiness of our soul, not the eyes of others, should guide and inspire our actions.
By Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell