Sunday, November 7, 2010

“Do not promote begging…”

…was a little sign that caught my eye today in Kloof Street. Got me pondering on the change I so often readily give away, sometimes feeling obliged even, thinking it would make a difference in some person’s life. This little sign had me wondering how much of a difference am I really making.

Begging is everywhere in Cape Town. Sometimes, quite frankly, it makes me sick to think that I cannot go anywhere without being pestered by somebody, somewhere for “something please”. At the robot intersections, wherever you park, along a walk, sitting at a café …. I really don’t think I need to elaborate here. Yet all these people continue doing what they do because WE reward it. Are we really helping beggars by just giving as generously as we do? By now they know very well of our generosity or bank on “agh shame” and “Agh voeitog” - quite happy just sitting there and…. waiting for it. No inclination to do anything else whatsoever to help themselves…. why bother anyway… there’s no need to work or make any effort when others so readily do it for you.

I’m not saying stop giving at all. I’m hinting at … there are far better ways to offer your money and assistance to those in need. There are plenty and plenty of NGO’s that often desperately need our assistance… be it money, time or skills. These are organisations, big and small, that are dedicated to helping others …. caring for babies that have been dumped, abused women and children, displaced refugees, helping many from unthinkable circumstances not only get back on their feet, but also offer hope and support for a better future.

Donating to an NGO’s of your choice seems like a far better way of ensuring your donation goes to good use – and bear in mind… it does not exclusively have to be with money. And if giving to some NGO doesn’t quite feel you, consider an extra tip to those people who are actually doing something for themselves…. like waiters, the car wash guys, the petrol attendants, buy a craft from the guy selling at some intersection, heck…even the dude with jokes-for-money etc. These at least are people who show some initiative and are prepared to do something to help themselves other than just sitting on some street corner or robot intersection waiting for “agh shame” to come a long.

Next time you fork out some change at the robot intersection, think about how much you’re really helping that person. With more of us giving in more constructive ways- we might just be able to make that envisioned difference in some person’s life.



  1. There are times like holidays when you feel extra sad but its a great point to ask oneself, how are we really helping them by giving money?

  2. Love your site man keep up the good work

    online pharmacy