Lonalinamandla raises R70 000 in one day to help a boy for his traditional circumcision ceremony

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Influencer, actress Lonalinamandla raised R70 000 in one day to help a destitute boy in the EC fulfil his dream of a respectable initiation ceremony.
Influencer, actress Lonalinamandla raised R70 000 in one day to help a destitute boy in the EC fulfil his dream of a respectable initiation ceremony.
ALEXANDER JOE

It was a cry for help that she couldn't ignore. Even though the message asking for help had been directed at someone else, once she saw it, she had to get involved. 

She took out R400 from her pocket and asked her thousands of followers to also donate as little as R10. A day later, she has managed to raise more than R70 000.

It's all for a young boy from the Eastern Cape who needs money to go to initiation school but doesn't have the funds for the traditional ceremony and everything involved in the process. He's an orphan being raised by a grandparent.

Lonalinamandla Bawuti, an aspiring actress from Mthatha, was touched by the story and she shared it with her many followers on Facebook, asking everyone to get involved in helping the boy, who remains anonymous.

Ulwaluko is a rite of passage for boys in the Xhosa culture but umgidi (the traditional ceremony when the man comes back from initiation school) can be costly.

Read more | Umgidi | How to plan the perfect celebration without breaking the bank

"Hello, I have a cousin who has to go to initiation school in December, he has no parents and his legal guardian is his grandmother who is dependent on an old-age social grant," reads the message.

Lonalinamandla has close to 500 000 followers on Facebook. She's known for having a sympathetic ear and helping people promote their businesses for free on her page. 

"Whether its someone looking for employment, or promoting a business, I do it in the spirit of Ubuntu," says Lona.

"It's not a new thing for me, I have always used my social media for the good," Lona tells Drum, but she shares, "this particular story involved a lot of emotions."

The young boy is from a poor background and Lona has learned that he was being bullied and made fun of, as his peers questioned where will he get the funds for initiation school and the ceremony.

"The boy is in grade 12, he has final exams to worry about as well. As a Xhosa woman who understands the sensitivity around initiation, I had to call on people to show up, and they have listened and are showing off," she says.

Read more | Eradicating hunger in South Africa is a collective effort

The response from social media has been overwhelming and the boy's family is in disbelief. 

"I am supposed to be happy but instead I am emotional, the whole family is in disbelief. I sent them proof and they are lost for words and they keep telling me it's unbelievable," Lona says. 

She has no personal relationship with them and they don't know one another.

Lona's message has reached thousands across SA and stakeholders who have donated to the boy and currently, they are sitting at more than R70 000.

Since the boy is currently doing his final year in high school, Lona is hoping some of the funds and support will also assist him with university in 2022.

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