Born 18thJuly 1918, our former president, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela aka Madiba, is an iconic anti-apartheid activist and world renowned leader. To commemorate Madiba’s struggle during apartheid, The United Nations have adopted the concept of “Mandela Day” whereby participants are asked to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others.
It seems however, that the poor man’s birthday has become nothing more than a commercialised day for status-seeking individuals. Your social status is turned up a notch, when you declare that you too, have your own group of poor, hungry people to feed and dirty people to clothe… or whatever your chosen genre may be.
Islam teaches us that our charity begins at home. It would be fascinating to do a scientific study on whether the families of those being famously charitable, are sufficiently cared for. And by charity, I’m not only referring to giving material goods, I am referring to respect and kindness as well. Is it okay to be posting pictures of ourselves aiding the destitute when our families know us as to be an avaricious nightmare?
As a Muslim, the way in which we give charity is also important. Whilst the Holy Quran (Islamic Holy Book) states that we should give charity both openly and in secret, Sunnah (Prophet’s habits and interpretations) states that it is better to give charity but hide it. In other words we should give in such a manner that our left hand does not know what our right hand has spent. الله اعلم Allah knows best.
Keep these pointers in mind, when frantically posing and showing your glistening teeth at the next “charity” event and re-evaluate your intentions for being there. If you kid yourself into thinking that your annual Mandela Day visit will suffice for uplifting a needy person, then you have failed at understanding the true meaning behind the act of giving.
A true leader will work to uplift an individual by providing the tools to self-sustain themselves. Merely pitching up with goodie bags just feeds into the “expecting freebies” mentality, which ultimately keeps the person dependent on you.
In Psychology, we study various leadership styles. One that comes to mind is the Transformational leader. This type of leadership style promotes positive changes in those who follow and are generally enthusiastic and passionate about the cause. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well.
Of course, I’m not saying that you need to ninja through the malls for groceries and then arrange meets at that dark alley-way in Danger Avenue at Killing hour. Give with an honest heart and keep your intentions pure. Those who need your help deserve your full attention… this is not the platform for your media debut. Those scouts can discover you on another day. With that said, I hope you all have a wonderful Mandela Day and of course, Happy Birthday, Madiba! Hope you get lots of prezzies 😉
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ToxicSweety over and out.