What the Global Citizen Festival will do for SA
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"You cannot continue to succeed in the world or have a fulfilling life in the world unless you choose to use your life in the service, somehow to others and give back what you have been given. That's how you keep it. That's how you get it. That's how you grow it,” said American philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey.
Her words started ringing in my mind when the euphoria about the Global Citizen Festival broke, and we were told it would take place in Joburg, South Africa, at the FNB stadium, on December 2.
South Africans will learn a bit more about philanthropy, or rather, the importance of selfless acts and caring for others.
I'm glad that the concert is taking place in December, because it's when most people understand the importance of giving and taking care of the less fortunate.
For the next four months, poverty alleviation will be at the hearts of many, especially the youth who will be seeking to score points to stand a chance to be among the 70 000 locals to attend this prestigious event. I call it prestigious because it will be headlined by some of the most selfless people in the world. Oprah Winfrey will be the MC.
I am thrilled that this year, giving will go beyond Mandela Day, and that the young people of South Africa will dedicate their most precious resources beyond the amazing 67 minutes they dedicate yearly.
Our giving should not be driven by a festival. Ideally, it should be a daily duty. But boy, oh boy! For someone like me whose whole life is about helping the less fortunate, I am excited about the project that South Africans, especially young people, will be undertaking to earn a free ticket.
Chief executive of Global Citizen Hugh Evans said: “You have to play your part in giving back to society for six months.”
It will be a daunting task to many people who are not about poverty-alleviation in the spaces they live in.
We don't have a big pool of philanthropists in our country. Nevertheless, one principle that makes people venture into philanthropy across the globe is: “We give, not because we have much, but have much because we give.”
I believe that's the mantra of the Buffets, the Motsepes and the Winfreys of this world. It gives me hope that every young person who becomes successful might make that success (no matter how little or big) a vehicle of change.
May people learn that it doesn't start when you have “made it” to give back. It should be a lifestyle, and six months is a long time to make a new habit a lifestyle.
This is a great way to instil the spirit of giving back in our young people, and whether or not it continues, the truth is, those 70 000 out of 100 000 seats would have pushed more young people to do things for the less fortunate.
From looking at Twitter and Facebook, I have seen more than 100 ways to help the poor.
Beyoncé's presence is something that will teach us the essence of giving. It pushes us to make the business of other people's poverty our priority.
Posts on social media from July 9 have been so refreshing. They are about giving.
Warren Buffet said: “If you're in the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%.”
In other words, give back to society, no matter how little you give; it makes a huge difference in the lives of those who receive it. Certainly, those who will play their part will relate to Winfrey's words: “What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you.”
So, beyond the eagerness of Usher Raymond, Naomi Campbell, the awesome Bonang Matheba and the Carters being in South Africa and wowing the crowds, I am more enthusiastic about the young people embracing what the Global Citizen Festival is all about - poverty alleviation.
* Kabelo Chabalala is founder of the Young Men Movement, the 2018 Obama Foundation Africa Leader, and the 2018 Finland Correspondent Programme participant. Email,[email protected]; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala.