Don’t think dirty thoughts here, I’m talking about charity, okay? (but if you insist, go here for fellatio tips, Mister BJ)

Saturday night I found myself at a fundraising gig to establish an aftercare for the children of Keisie Valley, located on a small farm near Montagu (hey, I’m starting to think I have some sort of social life, having been out and about three weekends in a row of late). It wasn’t your traditional charity ball with a glamourous backdrop and fancy dress code exclusive to the middle-to-upper-class who has money to burn.

Instead, it was held in an industrial area in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town in Factreton, a quirky space trimmed with bold art, wooden floors and wooden doors converted to tables, a few geometric prints and graffiti art slapped on the walls. A space dedicated to honing young talent who don’t have access to the necessary resources to reach their full potential. Anyone who could spare a meager 15 bucks or some non-perishable food items, share a talent, or in fact, contribute in any which way, were welcome. Word has it, This Act Of Kindness May Help You Live Longer, so what are you waiting for?

A blend of ingenious artistic variety was bestowed upon us: visual art by Rizah Potgieter, poetry by Roché Kester, Mbongeni Nomkonwana, Kyle ‘Monomania’ Louw (thanks for the photo of the event), Verassings, Zoey Morkel and Obie, music by Imbali, Lee Ashton Buckton, Mo, Nur Felix and Nazeer, comedy by Alton Riddles and even freestyle football by Kyle Rinquest, all brought together by LOL MC Eugene Matthews to the beats of KBT’s epic mixes. These names may not ring a bell to you, but they’re names to remember – I promise you, just you watch the space…

There’s a silence in the air, one that isn’t awkward, but one that allows for reflection. A sadness, a bareness – truths exposed, stories of tough lives and love lives unfold. “You will miss old lovers while inside new ones” Kyle Louw retrospects in his poem Things I Wish I Knew At 18.

There are ooh’s, aah’s and uh-huh’s… LOL’s and melancholy.

Enamoured with every artist, I felt a sense of euphoria rush over me. Words, sounds and movements that spoke to my ever elusive soul. Deep yeah, but that was the feeling of the night, mate.

The hybridity of art was truly food for the soul, and my soul was in dire need of nourishment. I’m not going to submerge you in biblical quotes about goodwill, but I may touch on the law of circulation. We live in a world of “what’s in it for me?”, always expecting some sort of “return on investment” on our acts of goodwill.

After the first act, I was transported to a whole other world. The artistry was so spectacular that I hadn’t even thought about the minus 15 bucks from my bank balance + a few tinned foods and themed cupcakes (this is exactly how you shouldn’t give – talking about what you give, but for the sake of illustration…)

And that’s when it hit me: I’d already received. Not from the same source which I gave to, but from another. I don’t want to go all Paulo Coelho on your arses, but the universe truly had mirrored back to me what I had put out, to all of us present I believe – just in another form and from a different source.

It gave us – I mean me – soul food.

There’s an art to giving and receiving, which I believe goes a little something like this:

1. Give without expecting anything in return – giving with the intention of receiving tenfold? Stop right there, you’re jinxing it. Give with the intention of making someone else’s life better, a little bit easier… Therein lies a gift itself. Can you feel it?

2. Don’t broadcast your goodwill – unless it’s to get more people involved in giving or supporting a worthy cause, then shut your trap! In  speaking about what you give, you’re already expecting some sort of acknowledgement, which is not selfless if you ask me.

 3. Yes, follow 1 BUT… also be open to receiving – once again, dirty thoughts aside. Stop downplaying your worth and declining gifts that may come your way. To do this you first need to accept that you deserve what’s bestowed upon you. Just remember that when you give a gift, you want someone else to accept it, yeah? So do the same.

By not giving and not accepting gifts we’re ultimately blocking the flow of reciprocity. If sharing your burger with a hungry kid ain’t going to see you starving yourself to death or sparing a few rands ain’t going to set you back, then you have absolutely no excuse not to give. But remember to do so responsibly and to use your own discretion.

Like the artists who performed on the night, you don’t need to spend a cent. Share whatever talent, skill or lesson you have that will add value to the lives of those in need or just anyone that’s in need of a little motivation, inspiration or wisdom. That in itself is giving.

A few rands and a few cans was but a small price to pay for the blessing of a nourished soul. After all, to give is to receive.

  • A-J Castle