- Grand plans for a matric dance were put on ice when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
- Instead, these boys chose to serve the most in need.
- Looking back, they believe it was the best possible decision.
It began as a plan for some serious glam. But, instead, a group of Cape Town scholars have donated every cent to their city's most needy.
Cameron De Kock, aged 17, is in Grade 11 at Rondebosch Boys' High. Shortly before the lockdown door shut on 27 March, he and four school mates organised a dance – as an early start to raise funds towards their matric dance of 2021.
The boys raised around R11 000 and were soon to have handed over the cash to their dance committee.
But then Covid-19 struck.
"Our world changed almost overnight," Cameron told News24.
"This pandemic has left us with an almost surreal feeling. As teenagers, we're so used to our lives being permanently social. We'll generally go out every weekend, and we see each other every day at school.
"We almost depend on social interaction. So it's been surreal how we, as young people, have been removed from our social existence a lot sooner than we would have been."
But, as socially-aware young men, they were even more keenly aware of the once-in-a-century global economic meltdown's impact on the rest of the country.
"It's going to go down in history as massive - it's bigger than any of us, bigger than all of us," Cameron said.
"We try to surround ourselves with people who are socially aware, and who care enough to educate themselves on social issues and circumstances around us. So we decided to look for people in need, to whom we could donate this money. We've seen how many people regularly don't even have a substantial meal in a day. Our challenges are trivial, compared to people going hungry …"
A teacher, Ollie Slingers, took Cameron to visit a friend of his, Howard Davids, during the lockdown.
Cameron explained: "We often go to soup kitchens, and other outreach programmes together. In this programme, every Thursday they've been making a warm meal for the community of 'Die Gatjie', in Diep River, and those from surrounding areas, like Lavender Hill, Retreat and Wynberg.
"We went there to help, and I saw personally how grateful people were for just one meal."
Returning home, he knew what had to be done: "I reported my experience to our school council, and we decided it would be the right thing to do to donate our funds raised to help feed people."
His schoolmates agreed, and the work started – buying food to prepare food parcels for families, for distribution - as has been seen in dozens of grassroots food programmes in communities across the City of Cape Town.
"My mom helped me – we worked side by side," he said of his mother, Alison Deary.
Finally, last Wednesday, 24 June, he and his friends travelled back to Diep River, and delivered their humble but heartfelt contribution.
"As we handed over food boxes to 37 families, we were extremely glad we did this. Just looking at how grateful the people were, at receiving the food, it was clear how vastly more important this was, than any way we could have used this money.
"To see the gratitude on the faces of grown men and women, thanking us from the bottom of their hearts for something that to us was seemingly a very small contribution, was an amazing experience for all of us," the schoolboy said.