Reaching out on Mandela Day – from a distance

Chefs at Table Bay Hotel made 2000 litres of soup for Mandela Day.

With level 3 lockdown regulations in place, which includes a ban on gatherings, most businesses taking part in Mandela Day had to think out of the box to do 67 minutes of good in honour of South Africa’s late president, Nelson Mandela.

Mandela Day is celebrated annually on July 18, the global icon’s birthday. 

Mayor Dan Plato wished the residents of Cape Town continued strength and hope as the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic lingers in communities, on what would have been Madiba’s 102nd birthday. 

“Nelson Mandela’s fighting spirit should always serve as a reminder that what we want for ourselves and those around us can be achieved with dedication. Seeing residents and businesses reach out to those in need during this time has been encouraging; displaying the same humanity which Nelson Mandela lived by. His compassion and deep understanding of his fellow South Africans enabled him to reconcile conflict in the spirit of nation building and healing.”

He said the City would continue to support those who need help.

Some decided to mark Mandela Day the old school way. 

Cape Town Central police officers spent 67 minutes preparing sandwiches for the needy in partnership with Ladles of Love.

The NGO held an online sandwich drive during which they set a record by making 304 583 sandwiches in one hour.

Their target was 125 000 sandwiches but the record was broken by 2.30pm on Saturday, exceeding the current South African record by almost 18 000 and smashing the world-record by almost 68 000.

On Friday, Captain Ezra October and his outreach team went to different spots in the city bowl to deliver food to the homeless.

Captain October said he had been partnering with various organisations through the lockdown to ensure that the city’s homeless community receive warm meals. 

He said officers prepared the food at the station’s kitchen.

Table Bay Hotel opened its kitchen to make soup for the needy as part of the national SA Chefs Association ‘s Chefs with Compassion initiative. 

The aim of the initiative was to nationally cook 67 000 litres of soup. 

Executive chef at Table Bay, Keshan Rumbarun said Table Bay donated over 2000 litres of vegetable soup, which were picked up by trucks and delivered to communities in need.

It was Mr Rumbarun’s first time back at the hotel after three months, and he said he was excited to be “home”. 

Table Bay Hotel’s general manager Joanne Selby said Mandela Day was dear to the hotel since it was opened by Madiba 23 years ago. 

“In the state that South Africa is in during the pandemic, we look at the vulnerable people and that could be any of us. We are grateful to still have jobs and food, and I think people understand that we must pay it forward.”

She said staff usually do meal packaging on Mandela Day, however, this year they wanted to “get their hands dirty”, especially since the staff had been away from the hotel for so long.

The Robben Island Museum, together with DJ Shimza and the Kolisi Foundation, held a live-stream show on Saturday to raise funds for communities affected by Covid-19. 

The two-hour set was performed by DJ Shimza, and people were encouraged to donate to the cause via Howler. 

Robben Island spokesperson Morongoa Ramaboa said the event was held in the spirit of promoting the universal value of Robben Island and intended to perpetuate the legacy of Madiba and other struggle stalwarts through the universal expression of music.

The aim was to raise R67 000. On Monday morning, they managed to raise R22 000. 

The Hope Exchange, which provides services to homeless people, opted to remain closed on Mandela Day, but encouraged people to contribute through donations.