The drastic economic effects of South Africa’s strict lockdown and the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted lives and businesses and across the country it is estimated that millions of South Africans currently cannot afford to buy food.
To lift your spirits and bring you some hope in these most difficult times, here are some inspirational stories of South African chefs, brewers and small businesses who are using their skills and expertise to find new ways to stay busy and support the less fortunate.
Meet South Africa’s inspiring soup-a-heroes who are feeding the nation during lockdown!
Soup-a-hero craft brewers making soup on scale
‘From lager to lekker’ a newly established collective of craft brewers called the SoupaGroup have joined forces to transform their breweries, which currently can’t operate due to the government’s temporary restriction on alcohol sales and production, to make soup at scale.
The Woodstock Brewery, Drifter Brewing Company and Stellenbosch Brewery with the help of volunteers and local charities have repurposed some of their powerful 1000L brewing tanks to make soup for soup kitchens in huge volumes.
As Andre Viljoen from the Woodstock Brewery explained to News24; “a soup kitchen in one of the poorer areas spends hours trying to cook a batch because the heating source compared with the volume of the pot that they’re trying to do large batches in, heats up very, very slowly.
So a cook can take anything from three to five hours to cook a meal for lots of people. We can do that in an hour!”
Top Winelands chefs set up Stellenbosch soup kitchen
Top chefs from the most acclaimed restaurants in the Cape Winelands have joined forces to fight hunger in Stellenbosch’s poorest communities as part of the Stellenbosch Unite campaign. With the help of local event hire company Ten of Cups who have provided facilities for storage and distribution and a local tourism company Adventure Centre who have supplied transport, the project is now producing 20,000 meals a week for the community.
The project brings together chefs and kitchen staff from top restaurants: Overture, Eike, Spek & Bone and De Vrije Burger, Spier Wine Estate, Neethlingshof, Gåte at Quoin Rock, Jardine Restaurant, Longtable at Haskell, Lanzerac, The Hussar Grill, Blaauwklippen, Table at De Meye and De Warenmarkt.
Each of the 13 restaurants produces nutritious soups daily, made from food donated to the Stellenbosch Unite fund, enabling local NGOs to distribute much-needed food relief on a much larger scale.
Top chef Betrus Basson from Eike says that the kitchen will keep going until at least September and recruit more chefs to increase capacity and feed even more people.
For information and to make financial donations visit https://stellenboschunite.org/i-want-to-help/#donate.
One Joburg restaurant feeds 35,000 in a month!
For the past 30 days, Norwood’s Indian restaurant Thava (which also now has a branch at Montecasino) has been hard at work in the kitchen to cook more than 1,000 meals a day for the city’s soup kitchens. Working together with the NGO Nosh Food Rescue, Thava has mobilised its staff and expertise, and harnessed the kind donations of local corporates, small businesses, farmers and members of the community, to deliver hot meals to Joburg’s most vulnerable communities.
Mathew Abrahams, Thava Restaurant owner, explained that on the first day the restaurant cooked some 300 meals, but soon realised that by donating all their time, energy and resources, they had the capability to do more.
“We felt we must do something to alleviate the hardships experienced by so many during the pandemic. Our staff were quick to volunteer their services. It almost immediately became clear that we can do so much more – and feed so many more people.”
To cook the meals Nosh Food Rescue relies on donations of food that might otherwise go to waste – such as from farmers and businesses with an oversupply of stock. They then use their culinary expertise to use everything they possibly can. To enable them to expand their volunteer delivery network the restaurant also now accepts donations for fuel costs at the nearby Engen Garage.
To help the Thava and Nosh team in their efforts contact the restaurant on +27 11 728 2826 (Mon-Fri 08:00-16:00), email email@example.com or call Hanneke at Nosh Food Rescue on 082 338 4538. For more information, visit Facebook.com/ThavaCuisine
Brixton’s Roving Bantu Soup Kitchen
One of Joburg’s most diverse neighbourhoods, historic Brixton quickly mobilised as a community during the first weeks of lockdown to provide support to its most needy residences through donations sourced from within the community.
Ingredients are donated by Brixton residents and four times a week the team at Brixton’s popular cafe, restaurant and bar The Roving Bantu Kitchen cook up healthy meals for Brixton residents most in need.