A Beautiful African Accountability Practice

In this African tribe, when someone does something harmful, they take the person to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds them.

For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done.

The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as a good. Each one of us only desiring safety, love, peace and happiness.

But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes.

The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help.

They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: “I am good.”

Shikoba Nabajyotisaikia!

NABAJYOTISAIKIA, is a compliment used in South Africa and means: “I respect you, I cherish you. You matter to me.” In response, people say SHIKOBA, which is: “So, I exist for you.”

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20 thoughts on “A Beautiful African Accountability Practice”

  1. I have seen this all over Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr but no one has named a source. I’d love to know where this came from so I can read more about this tribe!

  2. Thanks for the interesting story, which is making the rounds on Facebook, I see. I am South African and I have never heard of this, nor of the compliment.

    Shikoba is a Native American word that means ‘feather’.

    Can you please give your source for this story – which African tribe is it, and where did you find the story originally, as it appears to me to be an urban myth.

    Thank you

    1. I am also South African and that phrase definitely does not sound like any of the South African languages. Diana, I think ure right…its an urban myth! lol

  3. This is beautiful and all but in future may you please refrain from calling it an “African practice” and rather state the country or the tribe in the title… Thank you.

    1. Amen Ashley!!! Has the memo not yet reached the world that Africa is a continent and NOT a small country!

  4. URBAN MYTH, and a LIE!

    SHIKOBA – A native american name which means “feather” in choctaw.


    NABAJYOTI – There is no known meaning for this word!! Asian Indian in usage.


    Saikia – Saikia and its alternative forms – Saikiah, Xoikiya, Soikia etc. is a surname from Assam, India.


  5. This story was recorded by Leonard Zunin in his book Contact: The First Four Minutes. It did not include the words spoken to each other or the belief that tribe sees every person as good. Here is an excerpt (I just picked it up in my school library):

    “When a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe, regardless of age, begins to talk aloud to the accused, one at a time, about all the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy is recounted…the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe…Perhaps this overwhelming positive bombardment not only strengthens his positive self-image, but also helps him choose to live up to the ‘expectations’ of his tribe” (Zunin 207-208).

  6. Does it really matter if it’s a myth or not. The world needs more of this, whether its sources are valid or not.

    1. When some things are fabricated, true assertions made by the site become questionable. Posted because it ‘sounds really good’, what else has may have been quoted because it ‘sounds really good’?

    2. “Does it really matter if it’s a myth or not. The world needs more of this, whether its sources are valid or not.”

      Yes, it matters. A white lie can bite someone in the ass. That same line of thought is what’s causing issues in the world right now.

      Someone made up fake rape statistics in the UK. Their response after people found out that they were made up was that “it could have helped people so it’s okay”. Now those fake rape statistics, which are still being used to this day, has caused something bad to happen. Iran used them to counter protesters that didn’t want Iran on the United Nations Women’s Rights counsel. If you know anything about Iran’s history with women, you should know that this is a very bad thing.

  7. They need to just take this post down. Photo is out of context, no sources, no specifics on the tribe and what appear to be made up words. One of the words is just the name of a random Indian chemist.

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