Opinion / 24 December 2018, 11:00am / Danny Oosthuizen
I FINALLY got it. The spirit of Christmas. And it is so pure in its simplicity. I was sitting in the Company’s Gardens two weeks ago and next to me was an elderly lady eating a piece of fruit cake.
She wanted to share some with me but I declined. It was very small and it did not feel right to take some.
With shaky hands riddled with arthritis, she placed a piece on my lap. I slowly begin to eat from it. The amount of flavour that was hiding inside the cake was like poetry on the palate.
This little piece of cake brought back fond memories of her childhood and her eyes were alive and shiny as she shared story after story with me.
The lady is famous. Her family, rich.
It took me a while to realise who she was. Not that it matters.
She never asked me about personal stuff. And I was not really going to tell her my story.
Because at that moment I was in a beautiful public park, in a city that got nominated as the best in the world, eating some divine creation and having a chat with a beautiful soul.
I was in the moment. The here and now.
Later that night I wondered how many moments of joy I missed out on as I am forever either in the future or way back in the past. We worry about tomorrow and the next day and don't live today. Today might be all we have left.
People out there are tired. Some already made remarks that they wish this festive season can be over and done with.
What I find ironic is that so many people (myself included) worked the whole year and got nothing to show for it.
It is impossible to save money. And most people out there do not earn what they truly deserve. Your domestic worker or garden helper spent most of their wages on travelling costs. They are growing old without some sort of a pension fund. Their future will depend on old age pension money, currently around R1700 a month. Maybe this is something one can look at in the new year.
They say charity begins at home. Many domestic workers have children going to school. Imagine you have the resources to sponsor a child. You will directly invest in another's future.
A good education is something nobody can take from you. And it opens so many doors of opportunities and possibilities.
But let us get back to the now: This festive season, our city will be packed with tourists and locals on holiday. This is the smash and grab season. Pickpocketing, chain snatching, mobile and handbag theft.
Some out there will invade our streets, running a lucrative, criminal business and then run back home or try and infiltrate the homeless community.
These invaders will be reported to the police, CCID and other security companies. Turning a blind eye is not an option.
* Danny Oosthuizen is the #TheDignityProject ambassador. In his weekly daily column for the Cape Argus, he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.