We are a giving people

2014-11-23 14:01

What do the US and the small, highly contested Asian nation of Myanmar, or Burma, have in common?

Their citizens are the world’s most generous people, according to the World Giving Index 2014.

The index, which is compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation, reveals that a country’s wealth and its citizens’ generosity are not necessarily intertwined. Some of the world’s most generous nations are relatively poor when compared with their counterparts in the G20.

Iran, Jamaica, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Kenya are hardly economic powerhouses, but they all made the top 20 because their residents help others or donate their time or money to charitable causes.

Kenya is ranked 15th in the world, making it the most generous nation on the African continent, followed at 21st overall by Nigeria.

South Africa comes in third, at 34th place, outperforming its counterparts in the Brics nations. This will come as no surprise to many South Africans – we have taken the concept of ubuntu and brought it to life in every corner of the country.

South Africa’s richest man, Patrice Motsepe, leads from the front. His foundation has donated hundreds of millions of rands to education, Africa’s fight against Ebola and other causes.

But Motsepe, like others who are megawealthy, can afford it. What about those of us whose monthly budget is small change compared with people like him?

In short, the ordinary are simply extraordinary.

They’re the men and women getting involved in making our communities better places, helping neighbours who can’t afford to buy groceries, and cleaning up the schools at which their children and their children’s friends are learning.

They give of their time and donate what they can to making South Africa better, step by tiny step. They are the people who earned us the ranking of 34 out of 130 countries surveyed for the index.

City Press has recently profiled some of South Africa’s brilliant charitable causes. At the bottom of each How to Spread It story, we include a link so people can donate. In just a few months, our readers have given thousands of rands to projects that are improving our country.

That’s what makes us great – extraordinary people who embody ubuntu.

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