One of my fondest memories about childhood was spending Christmas in the village. This was not just because of the long road trip, or how much I enjoyed inhaling the wind raised harmattan dust. It wasn’t about crisp fried chickens or running around chasing chickens without the threat of homework. It was, instead, the peculiar generosity of all the adults in my life. You see, I clearly remember the yellow string purse I had, dotted with blue flowers and a small side zip. That purse was my favorite thing to carry because it was stuffed with money from all kinds of adult. Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for us kids to just show up in a stranger’s house and have them squeeze change into our hands—parents didn’t even seem to mind, after all, it was Christmas. At the end of the holidays, I would have so much unearned money from the hands of strangers that my mind would almost burst out of itself.
Strangely, when Davido made the call about his birthday on Twitter and raised well over a 100 million in less than 12 hours, my first instinct was, Omo! Christmas don come for this guy o! Of course, I know it’s not literally Christmas money, but that was the energy it stirred, the idea that people can so willingly give to another person, not in response to a need, or to solve an urgent situation, but simply in the tradition of giving, the idea that a season of life can be so festive, so full of happiness and gratitude that you naturally want to give out of what you have.
There are so many ways we can dissect that Davido saga. Some people have argued that the donations are an ego trip from celebrities trying to outdo each other; others have said it is his social capital, the premium joy he has brought to many through his music. Clearly, Davido has some goodwill with the public, but there are many others who have impacted the world positively, but who are so well off that we’d be hard pressed to give our money to. I kind of see the whole thing differently. Maybe it was a fluke, a lucky day on the internet. Maybe he is planning to spend the money with his friends, who cares? Maybe it’s even that celebrities are trying to outdo themselves, but what I really find striking is how the request appealed to that intrinsic human nature that desires to connect and give.
We, humans, are full of surprises. The general ideology is to fend for yourself, to hold on to what you have because really, who knows the wind that will blow tomorrow? We are taught that certain people deserve charity, those who are poor, broken or to be pitied. Otherwise, those who are spiritual enough to make the act of giving a profitable transaction. But occasionally we surprise ourselves and remember, that life is not about who has more or who has less, it is about sharing small and big moments with those we connect with. It’s not about who you are helping, where you are sowing, who deserves it; it is simply about kinship, appreciation, celebrating another human being. And it is such a magical and benevolent place to be.
If there’s anything I want to take away from this Davido N100m challenge, it is to re-examine my own approach to giving culture, and my own approach to asking. I’m not saying I’m going to start a GoFundMe, but it’s a magical thing to know that no matter how comfortable you are, you cannot outgrow the uplifting of others. Also, to keep in mind, that no matter little I have, my widow’s mite can create wealth for someone else. There are very few things that connect human experience and human joy, than when we come together and give.