The African concept of iwa pele has many definitions that can be easily found with one google search. Gentle character, good character, balanced character. The theological concepts that comprise iwa pele are readily available for any level of understanding. Theology is wonderful but I know many theologians who are unable to adhere to actual practice due to its difficult nature.
My blog has never been intended to be another theological reference. It is more of a “side note” of practical approaches. As I am a practical person I learn better by seeing, feeling, touching, smelling, tasting or other experience earned physically or spiritually. I had been taught of iwa pele repeatedly, but not until recently have I had an in-depth experience of it and how difficult it can actually be to stay true to it. It goes beyond the surface thought of just doing what is right.
Just do it. So what if in practicing this concept, as a minority, you must place your own livelihood as a buffer for your employee who is a member of a smaller minority group? It is against a ruling majority group who refuse to see their own actions as racist and there is a real possibility you will lose your job trying to protect your employee. Step out of the way and let the chips fall or maintain your protective stance knowing full well your job is at great risk.
Just do it. You have a friend to whom you are very close, but she has a way of behaving that is negative or destructive. She comes to you for comfort because her life has collapsed in front of her again. Do you just console her telling her what she finds soothing or do you risk her anger to tell her the truth about your observations of how she is destructive? Do you join in with her gossiping so you can be “one of the girls” or do you refuse to participate and become ostracized by your peers?
Iwa pele is not just good, gentle or balanced character; it is an action. Embedded in its actual application there can be a requirement of sacrifice that can be a small price or it can be a great price that has to be paid. Equally embedded are the concepts of faith, determination, trust and belief.