Photo: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
Random acts of kindness are probably something everyone can relate to. At one time or on several occasions, a stranger gave you a helping hand and this brought you huge surprise yet great joy. It is true that on some occasions you may welcome the random gesture but on other occasions, you may shun it because it seems kind of ‘awkward’.
These ‘awkward’ people if we shed a light on them can be admired for something that is truly special – their boldness, their ability to step of their comfort zone to approach you to offer help or to say a kind word to you. It is in the same way, through random acts that people come out randomly, unexpectedly to spark positive social change. Whether or not they are seen or judged as being deviant is the least of their worries. It is so fascinating and admirable how a small group of people can create a new social structure of peace and fairness in a society that is marred by dictatorship, fear and injustice. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is definitely someone among many examples that rings a bell. His fearless and consistent struggle for social justice in Nigeria at times when Nigerians were gripped with fear to speak up against unjust governance was deviant, different and random. And that is why till today, nearly 19 years after his death, Fela is still loved and appreciated in Nigeria and around the world.
One day in Ottawa, I was walking to the grocery store and I saw a little group of teenagers speaking to some people who I presume were homeless and offering them snacks. That was a random act that touched me. It was a random act that for me, emphasized how a society can be united in love if we stopped the stigma and leaned a little bit more to help the less privileged.
Last week Monday, January 18 was Martin Luther King, Jr Day. MLK was another person who stepped out of the box whatever it could have been at that time – probably a box of fear, pain and suffering. He did not comply with any man-made rule on how African-Americans should be treated. MLK did not abide by the norm, he struggled and defended the inherent right of every human being (INCLUDING African-Americans) to freedom.
Random acts can be powerful, they can be revolutionary. Don’t be quick to shun them because it’s random, seemingly awkward, out of the box acts that have led certain people to make huge positive impacts in their society.
Love & peace,
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