The news at the moment is decidedly worrying.

Probably the one issue that concerns me the most is the ever-increasing unemployment statistics.

Just yesterday I again was reminded of the staggering number of people who are unemployed. Something like 8,500,000 people! And growing – 28% of the entire working population with over 300,000 people having been retrenched in the last quarter, alone.

These figures are both appalling and numbing.

As I sit in my comfortable house in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, the thought of the plight of all these poor souls does not often, I’m ashamed to say, occupy my mind.

I suppose it is a survival mechanism at best (to ameliorate my feelings of guilt) or a lack of care at worst.

It’s the despicable acts of an incompetent government that has taken us down the road to ruin on the last 25-odd years, I might argue.

That doesn’t solve anything.

The time for blame is well past.

My contribution?

It is small. But it just makes me feel better: I always give to beggars at the robot. Coins are no longer my offering. I give paper.

And yes, I am supporting a segment that thrives on this when they should be working, but at least when I look at that poor man’s/woman’s eyes and they whisper “thank you, father – God bless”, I feel that I am directly connecting to my own humanity.

It’s a small act and could be judged as selfish done purely to appease my own sense of guilt.

But I don’t care. I do it anyway.

That small contribution allows me to participate in making a difference in what has developed into a diabolical situation.

Do we not look like the arrogant nobility just before the The French Revolution? Do we not look a bit like them when we drive past a poor person is a large auto, cocooned in our own little world of warm luxury, our nose in the air with a hostile look on our face?

That’s a “Let-them-eat-cake” finger in the air if I’ve ever seen one.

If we were all able to offer a little more empathy and contribution, maybe – just maybe – it might make a difference.