It is that time of year again. The shopping malls are alive with the sound of music. Whether it is Boney M’s Rivers of Babylon or Michael Bublé’s rendition of White Christmas, nothing quite brings home the special feeling of the festive season as the singing and enjoyment of Christmas carols.
Singing is an art form that is enjoyed at this time of the year by people coming together in one place, with the music sheets being passed around and the candles being lit in their little plastic cups, while the appointed conductor leads the gathering in his or her favourite carol.
With the restrictions on gatherings, however, the various levels of lockdown have placed the proverbial spanner in the works, leaving many charities and organisations that usually benefit from the donations raised at these events in dire straits. As people that deal in the buying and selling of homes on a daily basis, the concept of homelessness is one which estate agents across the world understand the reality of more than the average person can imagine.
This was brought home to me during a recent negotiation relating to the occupation date of a home that was in the process of being transferred. Without going into details, the original anticipated occupation date (upon registration of transfer) was severely affected by closures of the Deeds’ Offices across the country. The transfer was taking a lot longer than could have been anticipated at the time of signing the agreement of sale, and based on an expectation of registration date, the new owner had given notice on a lease in the home they had been staying in. Due to the delay, the new owner was effectively ‘homeless’ for a period of four months.
Not for one minute am I suggesting that not being able to move into a beautiful new home in a coastal town can be equated to the mass homelessness and poverty that is experienced in our country on an ongoing basis, but allow me to say that it made me think of how terrible true homelessness must be.
The Fine & Country Foundation (a non-profit company and registered charity) hosts a fundraising carols event every year, all proceeds of which are donated to charities that have a hand in aiding the fight against homelessness and poverty. In the past this was obviously a live event; however, this year the event is going virtual, and will for the first time have a truly international flavour.
On Sunday 20 December at 9pm, Carols for Causes will be streamed on Facebook Live. The carols will be led by the Bishop Stortford Upper Sixth choir from Bishop Stortford College in the UK, and will include compositions by Opus 76, a Kansas City string quartet. But the highlight for all South Africans will be that for the first time ever, the event will include performances by South Africa’s Ndlovu Youth Choir.
We have already received a generous donation from BetterBond in South Africa, and we look forward to raising a substantial amount more over the course of the evening. We are extending an open invitation to everyone who wishes to be part of this celebration, but in particular our friends and colleagues in the real estate industry. Let us show the world at large the impact that our industry can have not only in providing a platform for the buying and selling of homes, but also in the alleviation of homelessness and poverty across our country.
As this is my final column for the year, allow me to wish all our friends and their extended families a joyous and healthy festive season. No matter your religious persuasion, we all have so much to be thankful for, and the end of this difficult year deserves to be celebrated.
Please remember to login to Facebook Live on Sunday 20 December at 9pm, follow the links to Carols for Causes, and enjoy and celebrate the performers, while donating much-needed funds to well-deserving charities.
The views expressed above are those of the writer in his personal capacity and may not necessarily reflect the views of Fine & Country as a national and international brand.