Gifts for the poor
RESIDENTS of rural Willowfontein in Pietermaritzburg rallied round the poor yesterday to celebrate Christmas and to revive the spirit of ubuntu.
Members of the community exchanged gifts but the focus was on giving to poor and vulnerable children in the area.
Food and blankets were handed out to a number of orphans to ensure that they also celebrate Christmas.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize is from the area.
The event was supposed to be attended by President Jacob Zuma but he could not make it because of prior state commitments.
Local schools and the community came with the suggestion of handing out Christmas gifts to the poor to revive the spirit of giving.
Community leader Minkie Mkhize said they believed that when people continued to follow their cultures, the lives of the poor would be improved.
He said the event was critical for community members because people should not be held hostage in their homes because of high levels of poverty.
"By sharing food, giving gifts and dancing together, we will address the problems that we face as community of the area," Mkhize said.
"We do not want to see people kill each other because they do not eat each other."
Mkhize said the area had been plagued by poverty, with many orphaned children and unemployed people.
"But we want to change that as a community since we do not want to see any household going without food during Christmas. By so doing we want to strengthen the spirit of ubuntu."
Local resident Nokuphila Dlamini, who also benefited, said they were thrilled by the move to remember those who cannot afford to celebrate Christmas.
She said her grandchildren would be able to enjoy the festive season like other children.
"I'm grateful that our children came up with this idea to ensure that everyone enjoys Christmas."
Mkhize said the event would help the youth to understand the importance of celebrating Christmas Day.
"Christmas Day is important and needs to be celebrated by families," he said.
"It has nothing to do with abuse of alcohol and drugs that lead the people to fighting and stabbing each other."