Chefs from across South Africa have come together in response to Madiba’s call to help those who are less fortunate. Over 300 chefs from 10 cities, including Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria and Rustenburg, prepared 77 000 litres of soup and distributed it to vulnerable communities.

They exceeded their initial target of 67 000 litres.

The initiative is the brainchild of Non-Governmental Organisation, SA Harvest and Chefs with Compassion.

A survey, by the National Income Dynamics Coronavirus Rapid mobile survey, shows that almost three million South Africans have lost their jobs during the country’s nationwide lockdown. Stats SA says the number of people who are not receiving an income had increased from 5.2% to 15.4% in the six weeks of the national lockdown.

Fifty one-year-old Nomawisile Kamaboza is one of those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Kamaboza who lives with her three grandchildren at in Umlazi, south of Durban, says the soup kitchen has helped them a lot.

“This soup kitchen has made a huge difference in our lives. In this place as we are not working even if you cook what little you have for supper, at least you had something for lunch especially if you stay with many children. They all come out with dishes to get the food after the boys have announced the dishing time. We no longer have that worry we had since most of us lost our jobs through this virus.”

In the video below, chefs distribute 67 000 liters of soup across SA:

A group of young people created the Isigqi Sobuntu organisation (ISO), with the aim of alleviating hunger in the community. Organiser, Thabo Sigwebela, says they’ve seen how the coronavirus pandemic has affected most families in their community. ISO is one of the NGOs that received soup from the Chefs from across South Africa Mandela initiative. Sigwebela say their soup kitchen helps to feed over 250 families in his area.

“We started the kitchen because we are from this area, this area has been disadvantage for a very long time, so we know that people are suffering and they don’t have money to buy something for themselves so we made a kitchen so that they can be able to put some food on the table, because if you come here and get something to eat you don’t have to cook the little that you have and you save a lot from your side. So it has been increasing from the start, the number has been increasing we now serve about 250 per day.”

The KwaZulu-Natal Secretary of the Chefs with Compassion, Jodie Gillespie, says they have delivered over 10 000 buckets of soup to families in various rural and disadvantaged areas in the province, including Eshowe and Umbumbulu.

“Just alone of the soups that we made yesterday the cooked soup that’s going out today it was 560 litres. It’s going to feed 2 300 people we should hopefully come through with a total of about 12 000 litres in Durban today alone that will feed over 50 000 people today chefs with compassion have paired together with SA harvest and come together to make 67 000 litres of soup throughout South Africa for today and our target for Durban was 10 000 and we’ve managed to come up with 12 000 litres through the produce that we’ve got and the people that signed up to make the soup for everybody in need.”

The chefs managed to feed more than 300 000 people.

Hospitality is one of the hardest hit industries during the COVID 19 pandemic. Despite this, however, most of the chefs have lost their jobs but they say they find comfort in knowing they’ve given someone less fortunate a hearty meal.