Mandela Day – the ugly side

Former South African president Nelson Mandela celebrates his 90th birthday at Loftus Stadium, 3 August 2008.
 Picture: Gallo Images

Do not turn other people’s daily struggles, their never-ending nightmares, into a Facebook post.

Mandela Day is really exhausting for me. Those fake and posed photos of do-gooders who would not be doing good if Twitter was not trending with #mandeladay.

I have a problem with how businesses are being rewarded for doing good. It should be standard practise.

A business should be too embarrassed to say to potential, current and past clients that it does not support the needy.

Individuals in their personal capacity should never utter a sentence that highlights that they cannot lend a helping hand to people who find themselves on the lesser side of life.

It should be second nature to help others, whether we are being rewarded or not. What we do not seem to come to terms with is the frightening truth that we are all one wrong decision from financial ruin.

One bad decision could have any of us on the streets, begging for food, hoping someone will believe that we are more deserving of their kindness than the next person.

So I tend to cringe when I see people treating the needy as a public relations exercise. How is someone else’s poverty good for business?

How can someone go home at night, say it is a good day for business because he/ she dropped off a bucket of goodies that will last three days maximum, of the very basic of foodstuff, and then eat a four-course meal before patting themself on the back and saying, well done!

Then you see employees posing next to poor little kids, the dirtier the better. Pretty much a day out at the museum.

When people go out to “enjoy” Mandela Day, they are missing the point. Do not turn other people’s daily struggles, their never-ending nightmares, into a Facebook post or a competition between you and your mates to see who has the most retweets of their picture.

Poverty is not a joke. It is also not a social media trend so stop it.

We need to stop being fly-by-nights when it comes to helping the less fortunate.

One day, heaven forbid, it could be us, so sow seeds of kindness that will bear fruit, not just a retweet.

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo




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