I am because we are

Adine Adonis takes strength from ubuntu and encourages readers to celebrate a spirit of togetherness

Adine Adonis clinical specialist physiotherapist in neurology, currently working at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

What a momentous year we have had. Who would have thought that in the last quarter of 2020 we would be at this point in history?

We have shown resilience, continuing to go above and beyond in uncertain circumstances, spoken out loudly against wrongs, making our voices heard and taking a stand for what we believe in.  

As someone strongly rooted in ubuntu, I know my achievements are supported by the strength of my community cheering me on. Every achievement a celebration, every failure a lesson learned. And man are those failures hard to swallow.

Laughter, resilience, determination, my ubuntu spirit and being proactive are valuable lessons that keep me driving forward with passion and determination.

These qualities are what I – as a coloured/mixed race/black woman – bring to physiotherapy. I am all this and more.

I am the first in my family to go to university, to study physiotherapy, to leave my community, to work and live overseas, to stand in solidarity and to break free from those apartheid shackles that bound my community for so long.  

My achievements don’t feel significant to me but my husband tells me they are. So what am I most proud of?

I could list my accomplishments: chair of ACPIN; NIHR Fellowship awardee; Imperial Charity research fellowship awardee; senior teaching fellow/lecturer...

But what I’m most proud of is being me, putting one foot in front of the other, trying to help those I can. I’m not for everyone, but I am a million things for those who love and value me. 

A  favourite quote of mine is: ‘Fate whispered to the warrior: “You cannot withstand the storm” and the warrior whispered back: “I am the storm”’ 

By celebrating black physios (and not only in Black History Month) the CSP subscribes to ubuntu. Ubuntu comes from the Nguni language of the Zulu tribe’s phrase

'Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’, which literally means that a person is a person through other people.

Your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with others: ‘I am’ because ‘we are’.

This spirit of togetherness, working together towards a common goal to overcome all we have endured is an example of collective humanity, believing the common bonds within a group are more important than any individual arguments and divisions within it. 

So if you see me out and about, say hi, wave, and send me a friendly smile – you will definitely get one in return.  

Adine Adonis is a clinical specialist physiotherapist in neurology, currently working at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, in the National Centre for Human Retrovirology, an academically led clinic. She is currently chair of ACPIN and a senior teaching fellow at UCL.  Adine qualified in Cape Town South Africa, before coming to the UK to  work and travel. 

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