The ‘aunties’ rule

2011-11-12 08:17

Vusukukhanya Primary in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal, doesn’t have a tuck-shop, but vendors arrive daily to sell sweets, chips and vetkoek to the children.

Grade 4 pupil Zekhethelo Sibisi (9) buys from “the aunties” three to four times a week.

“I buy chips and ice-cream. I like ice-cream because it cools me down when it is hot,” she says.

Sixth grader Samkelo Cebekhulu (12) doesn’t bring a lunch box to school because, he says, he is too old for it and believes other kids would laugh at him if he did.

The teaching staff do their best to appeal to the vendors to sell healthier foods, but to little effect. Says Alex Duma, the school’s sports coordinator: “We have four regulars who sell inside the school premises during break.

We often discuss healthier snack options with the aunties and ask them to include fruit.

But it never seems to happen.”According to street vendor Ntombikhona Msomi (49), it just doesn’t make economic sense to sell fruit instead of vetkoek.

Msomi, who operates a stall close to the school chooses to sell fruit nonetheless.

“I do it to give people an alternative to junk food because I think it is important, especially for children who don’t get a nourishing diet.”

Nutritional “salvation”, says Duma, is to be found in the school’s daily feeding scheme.

Sindi Nkotha and Zanele Goba are on Vusukukhanya’s nutrition committee at the school. And they follow the education department’s strict menu guidelines. 

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