Johannesburg – South Africans showed their spirit of Ubuntu again on Tuesday night when the #OperationSA organisation hosted a live telethon in Joburg, in an effort to raise money for humanitarian relief in war-torn Syria.
#OperationSA was formed by social activists Yusuf Abramjee and Yaseen Theba, among others, in reaction to the plight of Syrians experiencing hardships as war rages between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime.
During the live broadcast of the telethon, both Abramjee and Theba stressed that they could not sit back and do nothing while their fellow humans in Syria suffered because of a senseless war.
"We know what is happening [in Syria] – men, women and children are being slaughtered. How can we as South Africans sit back and watch the blood continuing to flow? It's heartbreaking," Abramjee said.
He contended that the rest of the world has largely sat back and done nothing to assist Syrians, saying South African should draw on their spirit of Ubuntu.
"We, in South Africa, in the true spirit of Ubuntu, have decided to unite under the banner of #OperationSA and to really make a difference. There's an urgent need for food, medicine, blankets, mattresses and shelters," Abramjee added.
The first caller on the telethon was a young girl from Pretoria, Amina, who pledged R5 000 to the relief efforts, saying she also wanted to play her part.
Abramjee emphasised that every cent which is collected will go towards Syrians in need, and their organisation will make sure that the intended beneficiaries receive the funds.
"The chief executive of ITV, the channel which hosted the telethon, and myself will be travelling to Syria over the next two weeks to ensure that every cent that you are donating tonight is well spent," he asserted.
After roughly one hour and 15 minutes after the telethon began, Theba announced that they had managed to raise over R1.2 million from pledges throughout South Africa and outside of South Africa.
Beneficiaries of this initiative include the Al Imdaad Foundation, Islamic Relief SA, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul Ulama SA and Jamiatul Ulama KZN. There are also a number of smaller organisations which will benefit from this initiative.
People can continue to make pledges on http://www.operationsa.org/.