Whether to help, and whom to help, is a big and difficult question in South Africa. I know that with this blog post, I will be very unpopular with some people, and really, it doesn’t bother me. If you are a racist, I suggest you stop reading now.
I have been perplexed by this verse for a long time:
Gal 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Why would we become weary in doing good? It feels so good, to do good!
And then life happened.
We helped a white, poor family to get back on their feet again. And we got stabbed in the back right there after. Life happens hey. So now, I don’t want to help people like that again. I just don’t.
This morning, I visited a school in the poorest of the poor areas – Pholapark in Thokoza. What I saw in the area surrounding the school, was heart breaking. Little snotty nosed kids playing in a street, where live electrical wires are running across the road, between heaps of rubbish. Poverty like you will only see in a squatter camp. Poverty without any dignity. I cannot put it in words. I will let the photos speak a thousand words on my behalf.
In these ‘houses’, there are people living, that were created in the image of God.
In these ‘street’s are children playing in the most disgusting conditions. Dirt. Danger. Everywhere.
This morning I decided to help this school. I cannot make the entire world a better place, but if I can improve the lives of a few school children, then at least, I am still doing good.
Now I know, the question is going to come: “why are you not helping our own people?”
These people, that live here, ARE my people. We were born in the same country. We were created by the same God. And one day, we will stand before His throne together. Skin colour and culture, doesn’t make a difference to me. South Africans, ARE MY PEOPLE. But I will give you a reason for helping these people, instead of investing in a white squatter camp for instance. The answer is white privilege. You can deny it as much as you want, if you are white, you benefited from it. We all did. I grew up in a poor family – we didn’t have money for all sorts of luxuries. I grew up in a stack flat; my parents never owned property. I couldn’t go to college or university after school; there was no money for that. BUT – I worked myself up and paid for my own qualifications.
Every white person, had the same opportunity I had. Some had more. Some had rich parents. Those in the squatter camps, were on the same level I were. I know what it feels to go hungry because there wasn’t enough for me and the children. I know how it feels to eat oats three times a day, because it’s all we had. So don’t think I don’t know what poverty feels like. I do. But I worked myself out of there. Due to white privilege, any of those in the white squatter camps could have done it too, and they still can. My experience is though, that cigarettes and alcohol are more important than food for their children. When offered a job, many of them don’t want it.
No, I am not generalising. I KNOW everybody isn’t like that. I KNOW that. But with what I have experienced, this is what I have decided. I will adopt that school and try to help in some way. At least little children, won’t stab us in the back again.
One good deed a day, will make South Africa a better country for all of us. Stop pointing fingers. Stop being racist. Poverty doesn’t discriminate. Find something good to do, whatever blows up your skirt – do it.