It breaks my heart to see little kids standing in line waiting for food.
JOHANNESBURG – Faf du Plessis has acknowledged the personal anxiety which arose as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that he found solace in helping those less fortunate.
Du Plessis said Monday that the government mandated lockdown has provided plenty of time for reflection, not just about his cricket career, but the broader challenges facing society in the midst of an unprecedented time in human history.
“Yes, you have periods of anxiety; there’s fear of the future, we don’t know what’s going on or when we will play again,” said South Africa’s former Test captain, who has been at home with wife Imarie and daughter Amelie. The couple are expecting their second child, also a girl, in August.
“Everyone can go through different emotions,” said Du Plessis. “I’m grateful, that’s the first thing, gratitude, because the country is going through a really tough time.”
“There’s the emotion of being stuck indoors all the time, just feeling like you need to get out, that you’re stuck in a cocoon, in your own mind. Sportsmen are no different to anyone else. For me it’s about remaining positive, I’m putting a lot of energy into that. I’m not reading too much news or negative stuff. There’s a lot of panic. I’m about allowing positivity and not negativity into my world.”
Du Plessis said seeing long lines of fellow citizens waiting to collect food parcels was heartbreaking, providing him with perspective about how the majority of fellow South Africans lived. “Along with being grateful for what I have, there was a huge movement in my heart regarding people who don’t have.”
“It’s the first time I’ve had it so close to my heart. I’ve always looked at charities, helping people and you sit on the outside feeling sorry, but you never really get stuck in and get involved. I had a huge urgency to get involved, it started initially by lifting and glorifying people who are serving, helping, feeding other people, doing amazing things – just saying ‘well done’ to them. Then it grew organically to help on a more personal level; financial is one way, but we felt we had to get stuck in and do a bit more.”
Du Plessis and his wife were contacted via instagram about a charity – philisaabafazi.org – providing assistance in one of Cape Town’s poorest communities, Lavender Hill. “They needed to feed 175 families for a month, there was hardly any income, we worked out that it would cost R17,000 to feed 175 families for a month, and we felt it was a realistic goal to achieve,” said Du Plessis.
“We put it on social media and we were amazed to see the incredible generosity of people, inside and outside South Africa. We raised that money within a day and half. There was extra, it got to a point, where we had R25,000 extra. With the help of KFC, through their charities, we bought food from Makro at a very good price – so the money went further – and with the extra R25,000 we are busy with now, buying more food which we will give to another charity that is feeding 1 500 kids.
“It breaks my heart to see little kids standing in line waiting for food,” said Du Plessis. “I’m a father. I would do absolutely everything for my daughter and seeing that made me want to help them. I want to make sure all the children are fed. I feel connected to this cause I’ll keep doing as much as I can to feed as many people.”