ROB KNOWLES, TK MTIKI and JON HOUZET
Nelson Mandela Day was on Sunday July 18, where businesses, organisations and individuals contributed 67 minutes more in service to their community.
Locally, Mandela Day activities seemed fewer than in previous years, but several businesses chose to get involved by volunteering in existing service programmes to supply food to the needy, or the new national initiative called the Chefs with Compassion 67,000 litres Challenge.
Talk of the Town joined the Port Alfred Soup Kitchen last Friday morning, packing bread, shelling eggs, making chicken and mayo sandwiches to be distributed at designated drop-off points in Nemato where people queued to receive what was on offer. The soup kitchen also mixes dog food made of pap, gravy and mash when it’s available to be able to give to needy families who own dogs, so two TotT staff members took on this task.
Watching the faces of the people as they received the food was heart-warming, but none so much as the faces of the children who queued up to receive lollipops, a special treat from TotT on Mandela Day. Soup Kitchen operations manager Julie Baker encouraged the children, along with some adults, to sing “Woza, woza Friday” while performing the Nelson Mandela shuffle, something the children and adults seemed to enjoy.
Soup Kitchen chairperson Craig Ellis thanked TotT for its effort in always supporting the Soup Kitchen and specifically on the day.
Lew Geffen Sotheby’s, Port Alfred, also contributed to Mandela Day on Sunday by taking food and drinks to the hardworking staff at the Port Alfred Hospital.
Ant de Bruin, the franchise owner of Sotheby’s, organised the contribution and Ellen Swartz and Mandie Howard delivered them to the hospital staff who were grateful to receive Snackers bars, Energade drinks and fruit.
Royal St Andrews Hotel (RSAH) joined other stakeholders like Rosehill SuperSpar, Nemato Spar and the South African Poultry Association in the Chefs with Compassion project to contribute to making 67,000 litres of soup for Mandela Day. They managed to feed around 200 needy people at Nemato Change a Life in the township.
Scores of destitute people were fed hot delicious soup, fresh buns and eggs. Above and beyond simply feeding the disadvantaged people, the sponsors further donated face masks to every attendee.
RSAH food and beverage manager Robin Hyde was more than satisfied when he commented on their Mandela Day programme.
“We achieved our aim of serving 200 kids on Mandela day,” said Hyde.
Niche Café made two stops on Mandela Day. Also participating in the Chefs with Compassion 67,000 litres Challenge, manager Nicolette van Niekerk and her staff and Mieke Erasmus of Audie Attorneys handed out soup, fruit, boiled eggs and chips at Christ Ambassador Ministries in Nemato, while Pastor Caleb Mvandaba used a loudhailer to call people to come receive the food.
The Niche team then took a drive to the cricket field near 43 Air School, where the young players of the Nemato Cricket Academy enjoyed a meal after some play.
The Fort D’ Acre Reserve team spent Sunday morning cleaning up the beach as their contribution to 67 minutes for Mandela.
“The team puts a big emphasis on the conservation of both the wildlife on the reserve and the marine life on its beach,” said Melissa Roberts.
“After the heavy winds and strong seas experienced in the last while the team found all sorts of objects and rubbish washed up along the shoreline. One such object, thought to be a yacht rudder, required two strong gents to carry it off the beach. Time was taken to educate the youngest volunteers, ranging from 3 to 11 years old, about the importance of caring for our planet and its people.”
The team ended the day with a braai to reward their efforts and celebrate Madiba’s birthday in true South African fashion.