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Response to my internet troll: the sunflower raffle will go on!

In case you missed it, I'm hosting a raffle to raise funds for relief efforts in Ukraine. Sadly, it has not been going well... A couple of weeks ago, I decided to put some money behind the initiative, creating an advertisement on Facebook to create awareness.

To my great horror, my ad attracted some negative attention. An internet troll left nasty comments for me on three different ad placements!

Clearly, this gentleman - let’s call him ‘Mr X’ - was very upset about my raffle! Not only does he believe my intentions to be "dishonest" (a ruse to manipulate people into buying my art), he also thinks that Ukraine is unworthy of financial support (“Ukraine is the most corrupt country, ask the Bidens”).

I'm not going to lie -- I was devastated. I attempted to respond to the first of his comments, but my hands were shaking so badly that I couldn't type. So I bawled my eyes out instead...

Super Hubby, Alex, calmed me down with reassuring words, and a few cups of strong tea and introspection later, I had made up my mind: Mr X does not know my character. Nothing I can say will convince him of the purity of my intentions. 

The way I see it, there is only one thing I can do: Prove Mr X wrong in the only way I can. Through action.

I have nothing to hide. I am not ashamed. Mr X’s accusations are unfounded. Reacting in a petty, rude manner or stopping the raffle will only solidify his opinion of me, and perhaps dissuade others from supporting this cause too (In fact, when I finally did respond to his comments, I believe it was the manner in which I did it that prompted a few people to share my original post and even purchase raffle tickets!).

In the name of transparency, honesty and simply because I think it needs to be said, I’d like to address a few things that Mr X brought up:

  1. The Ukrainian government is corrupt, ergo they don’t deserve help.
    Mr X, if we all lived by this logic, no country in the world would ever be deserving of help. Let Malawi drown, their government is corrupt. Leave Turkey and Syria under the rubble, their government is corrupt. Ignore the tornadoes ripping through the US, their government is corrupt. And South Africa? Oh my goodness, don’t give them a cent!

    Just so that we’re clear — I was certainly not intending to donate money to the Ukrainian government. Even if that was the plan, I’m not sure that my goal amount of R5000 wouldn’t do much to aid Zelenskyy and Biden in their secret plot to overthrow the Free World (or whatever it is that you think they’re trying to do, Mr X). The funds raised by this raffle will be donated to a world-renowned, award-winning South African non-profit, The Gift of the Givers Foundation, who in turn will spend it on much needed supplies for Ukrainian civilians. Not buying war machines and lining the pockets of politicians, Mr X, just bringing a little bit of comfort to ordinary, honest, hard working people like you and me. People who did not ask to be at war, and have no sway over anything remotely political.

    When my Ukrainian husband donates his time and talent to refurbish soup kitchens in Fisantekraal, I assure you he’s not thinking about how corrupt the South African government is! He only sees an individual and community that deserves a helping hand.

    internet troll against sunflower raffle for ukraine 01

  2. Art and war don’t mix.
    When I read this statement, the image of the infamous Uncle Sam poster, pointing to the onlooker and saying, “I want you (for the US army)”, immediately came to mind. Clearly, Mr X, you have no idea how powerful art can be, or how often throughout history it has been used to inspire thought/action directly relating to the current political landscape.

    Am I hoping to inspire people to take action by circulating my sunflower? Of course! Does that make it propaganda? I honestly don’t think so. I’m not trying to manipulate people into agreeing with my political views. In fact, when I set out to raise funds for Ukraine, I didn’t for one second think about politics. I thought about the contrast between my own life - my own freedom that I take for granted - and the lives of the Ukrainian people. If I would think about the politics behind this war, I would get lost in the same deep, scathing skepticism that you seem to be stuck in, Mr X. Yes, with great power often comes great corruption. But if we abandon our neighbours in their time of need, what will become of us when the tables are one day turned?

    Back to my art -- I’m not amongst the powerful. I’m not a rich politician, wealthy businesswoman, famous actor… If I had thousands lying around, I would simply make a donation. But I don’t. I’m a humble artist, using my art to inspire change for good. Art is my God-given tool. My voice.

    political art posters

  3. “…don’t tug on the giving public’s heartstrings with tales of war woe.”
    Mr X, a few weeks before our paths crossed (or should I say clashed?), a friend asked how it’s going with the raffle. She was really shocked when I told her how poorly it was fairing. “But don’t people care?!”, she exclaimed. I’ll share my theory with you here now too: I don’t think that people are uncaring. I think we are just tired. Tired of bad news. Our lives are saturated with it. Flooded. Drowned.

    Every second day, we hear of yet another horrible thing that happened to some poor soul, community, country… Cries of help echo around us, and we feel utterly overwhelmed and helpless. Some of us have the means to help, and others don’t. Some just don’t know where or how to help. “What if I donate money and then it turns out the person I donated to is evil at heart and uses my money for dishonest and unscrupulous acts?!”. And all of us - ALL OF US - have to deal with the woes in our own lives at the same time. So we just don’t always have the capacity, the means and even the headspace or energy to deal with other people’s wars. That's okay. It doesn't make us selfish or uncaring. Just human.

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Finally, Mr X, I will finish by saying this — no matter your personal opinion, it is inhuman to treat other people’s attempt to help with sarcasm, skepticism and disdain. For a moment, your attack made me lose faith in mankind. Thankfully, it was quickly restored by the outrage and support shown by those closest to me. The response from strangers (who, like you, Mr X, don’t know me from Adam) has been even more beautiful and affirming.

There is a very real chance that I might not get anywhere near my goal of raising R5000 (so far, we’re only at about a third of the amount, so I’ll only be able to afford a really small tank to send the Bidens...), but I know that every cent gathered would have come from the heart. A joint effort to make a small difference in the lives of a complete strangers. And I will be proud. And I will do it again.

So, see you next time, Mr X! Until then, I really do wish you well.


More about the Sunflower Raffle for the Ukraine:

For only R50, you will get a gorgeous Downloadable Wall Art sunflower delivered to your inbox as well as one entry to the lucky draw raffle to win the one-of-a-kind original illustration, finished in a hand-crafted wooden frame.

I will ship this incredible prize to your door ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. A prize valued at over R2000!!!

sunflower for ukraine by the happy struggling artist

All money raised (and I'm hoping to get to R5000 before the end of April!!) will be donated to the Gift of the Givers Foundation, to aid in their hands-on, worthy work in the Ukraine.⁠

Entries close at midnight on 30 April 2023 (SA standard time). The winner will be notified via email on 1 May.


S - If you are not comfortable with online shopping, please contact me! I'll be happy to share banking details for an EFT.

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Lekker lag ek nou…! Dankie vir jou ondersteuning, Tertia!


Dear Mr X … I didn’t need your vote as it is not an election … ag Meisie jy verdien nie k@k nie … julle 2 (en Kitty natuurlik) is net finominaal … lief julle … nou troll en darem lekker …blok die drol … T


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