Freedom Day 2020 has been an unfamiliar experience given that we cannot gather with our loved ones and commemorate the day we voted in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. However, it is not so unfamiliar. We arrived at the first democratic elections in South Africa through solidarity against the Apartheid regime. This Freedom Day we continue in that culture of solidarity by staying home and practising a different kind of activism to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
However, many are struggling at home. Some are starving. Again, it can only be with our culture of solidarity that we can overcome food insecurity in South Africa at this time.
Due to the national lockdown put in place by the President to combat COVID-19, many families are unable to earn an income to feed their families. Some of the worst affected are those that are informally and precariously employed, the elderly and child-headed households. Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners who operate informally are some of the worst affected by the loss of income due to the lockdown.
To respond to the increased levels of food insecurity, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Imbumba Foundation and the Siya Kolisi Foundation have partnered on an initiative called #Each1Feed1. The name of the fund is inspired by the old Congress of South African Students (COSAS) mantra “Each one, teach one” and is adopted in honour of OR Tambo.
Last week the initiative distributed 500 food parcels in Zwide, Eastern Cape. On Saturday it distributed food parcels to support child-headed households in Zandspruit, Johannesburg.
Today the three foundations were in Limpopo to distribute food parcels to support ECD practitioners in Musanda-Mauluma Village and 500 families in Matsila Village and to provide essential hygiene products. The initiative has also started on a project to provide boreholes to address the water shortage the communities are facing.
We were joined by ambassadors of the #Each1Feed1 campaign, Kaizer Motaung Jr. and Maps Maponyane, who have journeyed with us to meet the chief and give their labour in solidarity with those most adversely affected by the lockdown.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation is proud to be associated with the Kolisi Foundation as well as the Imbumba Foundation as we try to relieve people of the burden of hunger. “On this day of Freedom Day, we can never say to people ‘happy Freedom Day’ when we know that they are starving,” shared Sello Hatang, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, at the food distribution in Limpopo. “We must go back to the words of Madiba in 1993. On the eve of our democracy being achieved he said that voting alone is not enough. All of us must strive to ensure that people have water, that people have bread and that they have shelter.” Hatang went on to state that in these trying times, if there is even a little we can do to alleviate the burden of hunger then we must go and do it.
The parcels are designed to feed a family of 5 for a month. The initiative intends on supporting families for a minimum of 3 months.
“More than anything else, the overarching freedom that every single human being must be offered is the freedom of dignity. What’s made this whole COVID crisis just so detrimental is the number of families that will be struggling, the ones that will be suffering as a result, with no source of income, with needing to stay in lockdown without being able to move, without being able to work - and therefore losing that freedom of dignity. And I think that’s what makes the work that we’re all doing for #Each1Feed1 important.” - Maps Maponyane at the distribution in Limpopo on Freedom Day.