On Wednesday it is my birthday.

i am turning 42 which, according to ‘The Hitchkhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Douglas Adams is the answer to the question, ‘What is the Meaning of Life?’ That’s right, i am literally going to be The Meaning of Life… years old. 

This is happening at quite a busy time though – just been on road trip with housemates from Americaland who are leaving on Saturday, Val really busy helping organise conference, me trying to catch up with online and blogging stuff after the holidays and racists racisting faster than one can easily keep up with.

So i decided to just ignore this one. No all-week birthday vibe as has always been my vibe, and i was thinking of actually skipping any recognition of the day altogether, except maybe doing a special meal with tbV and our ex housemates from Oakland in the evening.


All that changed when i clicked on a link that two of my good friends on Facebook had posted talking about ‘this amazing young woman we just met’ whose name is Mapula.


i don’t know Mapula and have never met her. But reading part of her story, which i have cut and pasted below, i thought that maybe this is something small i can do for someone else.

The nutshell story is that we are seeking 400 people to give R100 to help pay off school fees so that Mapula’s results can be released so that she can get a job. R100 is nothing – it’s barely a movie these days [probably less than movie and a drink or popcorn] – it’s two specialty coffees with a friend – it’s one restaurant visit at a really cheap restaurant where you are drinking water and not having any kind of starter or dessert.


i wanted to share this on Facebook and quickly realised that if i am not committing my R100 then that is not good enough. So i logged on and committed 7 dollars which is a little over the asked for amount. And then i had this idea that maybe i would try and celebrate my birthday this year, but i am going to need some of you to help me do it.

For my birthday this year i would love to see Mapula’s debt taken care of. Will you give R100 [approximately $6] towards this great cause? Literally click on this link and if you don’t have a credit card find someone with a credit card and give them R100 and ask them to do it. And then come back here and simply write your name in the comments section with something like “Did it!” and that will be the best birthday present i could think of receiving this year.

i imagine most of you were not planning on getting me a gift this year which is fine, but hopefully the nature of this idea is one that makes you go, “Ooh, i could do this!”



Words shared by Tristan Pringle on the Generosity kickstarter:

I met Mapula at a weekend away, where a group of us had gathered to discern the times and listen to what God has to say about being an activist, agent of change or justice champion. The weekend was intense and emotionally draining. It was there I noticed Mapula, a soft-spoken lady with a mighty presence. She reserved her voice for prayer, where she displayed the tenacity of the strongest of debaters. She had seen the roughest of days in her life but wasn’t bitter. Her inner strength radiated from her being, like sunbeams through the branches of a tree. It was Love that compelled her and a belief that life’s circumstances wouldn’t shape her or where she was going. The future is not yet ready for what she is about to do. She is clear, solid and steady. Her absolute belief in and dedication to God demonstrated her unwavering faith in Him. She said He was sovereign even when times made her think otherwise.

Mapula grew up in a Christian home. Her mom is a domestic worker and her dad hasn’t worked for 14 years. She raised her brother when she was just 9 years old when her mom had to start a job away from home. She finished high school and received a bursary from a mining company to study Industrial Engineering at the University of Johannesburg. The bursary, however, was rescinded in her final year of study due to the recession facing the mining industry at the time. She finished her final exams and passed, but the university has held back her results until she can pay the remaining fees. She has since started applying for jobs, but prospective employers need her results. Her mom has tried to apply for loans but banks continue to decline these applications.

In the midst of our own debates about free education, systemic reform, entitlement, and privilege we are confronted by a situation that displays the consequence of such a broken and unequal system. Mapula is a real person in the grips of economic oppression. I have it on my heart to unshackle this family. God cares not only about making the system right but also about individual people. I know that He cares for and loves Mapula specifically, and not just because of her amazing heart but because she is His daughter. Changing this one situation may not change the world or the system. There are literally thousands and thousands of stories like Mapula’s. But God has brought this one into my line of sight. And now it is in yours.

If we all did a little bit we may just make a big difference in one person’s life. I believe that love changes everything. We are asking 400 people to contribute R100. It takes R40,000 (or $2400) to break the cycle of hardship in this family. Surely, that’s a deal that cannot be refused! At the rate this woman is going, your R100 (or around $6) is an investment into this world. Mapula has a strong belief in defying all odds and that a person’s background cannot ultimately dictate their future. Join with us and let’s prove this to be true.

How about it? R100 is so little. But to one person it could mean so much. Let’s do this!

To donate R100 to Mapula’s future, click here.