Gospel sensation Betusile Mcinga has dedicated to spending his birthdays doing what he loves most – affecting the lives of those around him.
To celebrate turning 32, he visited neighbouring schools Vukani Senior Primary and Mhlabunzima Junior Secondary in Mthatha yesterday to donate 70 pairs of school shoes and two boxes of sanitary towels to be handed to the most disadvantaged pupils.
Mcinga said the idea to donate to the schools came to him when he was first invited to perform at Vukani late last year, where he was greeted by a bittersweet image.
“As I was getting out of the car, four pupils excitedly came up to greet me, and the first thing I noticed was how worn out their school shoes were. It took me back to my own impoverished childhood. I know the feeling of not having school shoes, and having to wear one school shirt the entire year until it tears. Seeing those kids compelled me to do something.”
Sixty pairs of shoes were donated to Vukani pupils, and 10 were donated to pupils from Mhlabunzima Secondary.
What was meant to be a surprise for the pupils, who were all gathered at Vukani Primary, turned out to be a surprise for Mcinga, who arrived to joyous festivities, as community members came out in their numbers to celebrate his birthday and visit to the area.
Villagers slaughtered a sheep and had decorated a tent they put up in honour of him.
“I was so surprised. What was meant to last an hour, ended up being a full day of celebrations. It proved to me that giving is better than receiving.”
He also got to motivate the pupils to dream of their futures , and left them with his personal secret for success, a prayer.
Mcinga said he found great joy in spending his birthday with those less fortunate than him, and hoped to see these initiatives grow bigger every year.
For his birthday last year he spent the day with the elderly at an old-age home in Mthatha.
He said: “I believe that one must make a difference at home before taking to the streets.”
Vukani principal Ndodomzi Binza said spirits were still high in the school and the community following Mcinga’s visit.
“What this young man has done for us is amazing. We are in a poverty-stricken rural area, and his visit showed us that we too matter. His contributions will make a significant difference in the lives of the pupils.”
Mcinga plans to reach out and impact every part of the province, focusing on helping upcoming artists and musicians.