Photo Credit: Fiona McDonald

A group of beachgoers in Simon’s Town proved that many hands do make light work when a spring tide left beach cleaner Neville with piles of kelp to clear.


Simon’s Town, South Africa (04 January 2024) – Fiona McDonald and her friend set off for a swim at their favourite spot, Water’s Edge Beach in Simon’s Town. It was a beautifully warm but windy December day, and the pair were excited about the crisp ocean in the wind-protected cove, but when they got to the beach, it was covered in beached kelp. Fiona and her friend set their things down in a clear patch and made their way slipping across the beach towards the water.

After her dip, Fiona traversed back to the spot where her towel was and noticed something rather special. Neville, a Malawian man working to clear the beach, was being aided by a fellow beachgoer. She reached out to share the heart-warming event with Good Things Guy.

“After navigating our way to the water and having a lovely swim, we returned to our spot and while towelling down we noticed – for the first time – one man toiling with a rake and a wheelbarrow. His job? Clearing the beach of all this detritus, load by load. It seemed an almost impossible task because there must have been TONS of seaweed strewn about!

But then something interesting happened. One guy making his way from the water picked up one of the stems of sea bamboo and dragged it all the way along the beach to the corner where it was being dumped.
As he passed me we made eye contact and he said: “It’s just one piece – but just imagine if everyone on this beach picked up one or two pieces…”

I didn’t need a second invitation because the thought had already crossed my mind. So I walked over to the heap of kelp and grabbed a stem with its long trailing tentacles and dragged it over to the pile as well. Then he and I both went back for more….

By the time we went back for our third and fourth armful, my friend jumped in to help – and his three kids also joined in. With six willing pairs of hands picking up and dumping armloads on the dump pile, it took about 20 to 30 minutes to make a significant dent in the pile of crud on the beach – as well as work up a real sweat. But, hey, we were at the beach so a quick refreshing dip and we were all good!

The sun was becoming uncomfortable for us so we headed off – but not before Neville, the lovely Malawian man, who had been employed to clean the beach, thanked us with a shy smile. And by then he had a few new helpers, two little boys who took turns to help wheel the barrow up the beach to dump the umpteenth loads on the now huge dump pile.

It was a lesson in seeing the difference a few willing helpers can make to lighten one person’s load – and make the beach a bit nicer for everyone else on it.”

Fiona’s experience left us smiling, and we are sure it is one Neville will cherish, too. It shows that a little kindness goes a long way, and many hands really do make light work!

Sources: Fiona McDonald
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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