This is the first time I have actually participated in an event created specifically for a ‘charitable’ cause. It is also the first time since breaking my arm that I have participated in any kind of physical activity. It may also be my last, that is until my arm heals completely of course or until I can learn to stop sustaining additional injuries!
Upon taking part in the Walk the Talk event, I had no idea what charity it was for. For all I knew, it could have been in support of the ‘Foundation for the protection of Swedish Underwear Models’. Unfortunately, that was not the case. A quick Google search revealed that this years Walk the Talk was in support of the ‘Laureus Sport for Good Foundation’. A foundation that I personally, have never heard of before. Apparently, this is what they are about:
Laureus’ core concept is simple, brilliant and daunting: to create global awards that recognise the achievements of today’s sports heroes; to bring sportspeople together; united in achievement but divided by sporting code and then, once that community is brought together, put their reach and the support and investment of Laureus’ Founding Patrons and Partners to work by supporting a message that can help social projects around the world who are using sport as a tool for social change. That message, simply, is Laureus Sport for Good (Laureus.com, 2009).
Alright, I think I get it. So, this foundation honours sports ‘heroes’ in the hopes that they will somehow, once attaining some kind of sponsorship deal, bring on social change within ‘disadvantaged’ communities? Kind of like how South African cricketers have spurred on the underground movement of illegal ‘cricket-eering’ in the middle of crime ridden Johannesburg?!
So, to put things into a mildly cynical perspective: I fried my lily white forehead, while speed walking a five kilometre course in under 50 minutes, butchering my tender loving feet in the process, thus incapacitating myself even further than I already am, in order to help some company foundation honour sports “heroes”, who, according to the mission statement, may not actually end up helping anyone? Seriously?!
Look, don’t get me wrong. Considering I do have dreams of entrepreneurial grandeur that are mildly fuelled by philanthropic desire, I am all for charitable endeavours.
Subsequently, all ranting and cynicism aside, the impressive fact remains that over 50 000 people participated to help make a difference in this years Walk the Talk. No matter how small each persons individual contribution may have been, a difference was made. After all, Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka once famously said, “the whole is other [greater] than the sum of the parts”.
So although I do feel that the Walk the Talk event could have raised funds for a different charity, just the notion of so many people compelled toward actively participating for change, in itself, is a testament to the progress of South Africa as a democracy. To have overcome adversity for positive change, even if only for a day, is enough to be considered a great achievement and inspiration to all.
Even after all of my raving, if I had the choice of doing it again, I would do so without hesitation. Next time though, I will just use different shoes and take Baz Luhrmann’s advice…
Until the next time “Milieunairs”!