Subsequent to the pronouncement of national lockdown by President Cyril Ramaphosa, many people saw themselves losing their jobs and this meant that there would be less food to put on the table. As such, he called on businesses and individuals to play their part in assisting the government to alleviate poverty. A team of local hikers, Makhanda Wild Hikers Crew, heeded the call and have started to lend a hand to local soup kitchens. On Saturday, 28 November 2020, the team donated food items to Buyisa Isidima soup kitchen in Joza. The Crew Coordinator, Melumzi Mazzi Matiwane, said after noticing destitute families visiting soup kitchens around Joza location, he shared an idea with his team members to give them something.
“I come from humble beginnings. I know what poverty is and how it can make a person desperate. I understand the grumbling of the belly and the terrifying echo of uncertainty it leaves behind,” said Matiwane.
“My mother always told me to share: share knowledge, share food, share your talent, share compassion and understanding.
“I have noticed both old and young people visiting these soup kitchens with the sole purpose of getting something to eat and I have seen the ladies at different soup kitchens struggling to put feed the people who need it the most.”
Due to the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of households had been pushed to extreme difficulties, Matiwane said.
“We therefore believe that by lending a hand to the soup kitchens we can help assist at least with a meal for several families.”
Buyisa Isidima (loosely translated “Bring back the dignity”) soup kitchen founder and manager, Thembeka Mavis Ntlumbini, said the donation had assisted her and her team, as their food bank was very low. She said before Covid-19 and the national lockdown, they used to cook once a week. Now because they’re short of ingredients, they cook once or twice a month.
“The help from the team of hikers could not have come at a better time. I believe that God sent them to us because we have been waiting and hoping for a donation. Their help will really go a long way in terms of assisting us to keep our doors open to assist the needy,” she said.
The items donated by Makhanda Wild Hikers Crew include vegetables, canned food, rice, and electricity vouchers. Matiwane said they are planning to coordinate donations and give to other soup kitchens around Makhanda as well. He called on business owners and individuals to assist. “No donation is too small, each and every donation is highly valued and appreciated, as it reflects the spirit of Ubuntu,” he said.
Those who want to lend a hand in this initiative can contact Matiwane through social media or by calling 081 249 4979.