Words for open ears

I started working as soon as I was legally able, in South Africa that is 16 years old. I worked all through matric, all through my gap year, all through my studies and through part of my second gap year. I have never struggled with money. By working, I was always able to make sure that I could get what I wanted. I have moved out my parent’s house. Reality has slapped me, hard, heavy and cold, on my soft, warm cheek.

I am that person that fills their car with R 200 petrol and holds thumbs that each time it will last longer than the time before. I am that shopper that swipes their Pick N Pay card, Every.Single.Time. I am the smartshopper card owner who at the end of the month uses the points to buy groceries for the last few days of the month until payday.  I went so far as to demand that my lover buys his own humus and pesto dips because he takes so much when he dips each wasabi flavoured (baked not fried) cracker. Yes, I am that person.

I’m not ashamed. No. Because now I realise, how tough it is and how hard it is for some people be alive. How difficult it is to have a family. And how hunger and cold might drive one to become a person that you hate. So I have made a decision. I have decided to give. I can not give money, yoh, because so often I have hardly enough for myself, but, after finding out that I can not spend all my smart shopper brand match vouchers at one time and learning that my smartshopper-card cash can only be spent at Pick N Pay and can not be drawn and used to put petrol in my empty car, I realised that I can give people my vouchers.

A smartshopper card ar is a card that is given for free at all PnP stores. You fill out your details, hand in a form and off you go. When you buy groceries or clothes or alcoholic beverages you swipe and accumulate points. These points you can then turn into rands. These rands you can then use to buy more things. Or as my mom does, you can use to buy Christmas meals. On top of accumulating points, PnP has a deal called brandmatch ( I have no idea how it works, but it makes me happy). Sometimes when ‘they are feeling friendly’ they give you money back in the form of a PnP voucher.

I tried the other day to use mine all at the same time and the lady behind the till laughed sweetly and said, “End of the month?” The old white guy next to me laughed too and explained that he also had tried to do that. It wasn’t so funny for me, I had R 70 in a mixture of R2, R 10 and  R5 brandmatch vouchers and no cash in my bank. I bought R 10 airtime and left with a heavy heart. These vouchers have expiry dates on them. Mine expired that day.

These brandmatch vouchers are what I am giving away. I don’t like giving money but I know that people will always need food. I gave an old beggar my vouchers yesterday and explained to him what he needed to do. He looked so grateful and told me that he had heard about these vouchers and knew what to do. Come on people, lets band together and give for free. Give your free vouchers to people who have nothing. Money can go to drugs, to drink, to violence. Give your vouchers and lets feed the community living on the streets.

It costs absolutely nothing. Make sure that you know when your voucher expire. Do not give expired ones. Lets keep our communities fed.

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