Capetonians bring out soup and sandwiches for Mandela Day

2017-07-18 16:05
Handing out sandwiches for Mandela Day in Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Handing out sandwiches for Mandela Day in Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - They came with cooler bags, old Typek boxes, baskets and packets - all filled to the brim with sandwiches, breyani and home-made soup to give to the hungry and homeless in honour of Nelson Mandela.

''We should have made more,'' said Glenda Keet, from City Varsity in Roeland Street where all that was left of the punnets of breyani they distributed was a few flecks of yellow rice on the ground.

July 18 marks Mandela's birthday and the day he married Graca Machel. It has become custom to mark his birthday by dedicating 67 minutes to charitable work in honour of each year of his service to the public.

The date has also been declared ''Nelson Mandela International Day for Freedom, Justice and Democracy'' by the United Nations (UN).

The UN also uses the day to focus on the often inhumane treatment of prisoners.

WATCH: 67 buskers perform street music for #MandelaDay

And among this solemnity, the Cape Town CBD buzzed with people walking around offering food to those who did not have.

''We didn't know there were so many people sleeping in the area because we don't see everybody during the day,'' said Keet, of the long queue that suddenly formed when the people who sleep in the plastic lean-tos on nearby Hope street got wind of the free food.

''Perhaps we should do this more often,'' she beamed, with colleague Farieda Ely watching a man hungrily scoop the rice dish into his mouth.

At the Carpenter's Shop nearby, sandwiches were being handed out, and small children with their parents shyly took a packet from staff.

At Parliament, near the bronze likeness of Mandela, who died on Dec 5, 2013, a group of staffers from the institution's Employee Wellness division, sang the tearjerker ''Asimbonanga'' by Johnny Clegg and Savuka while people walked up to their table tentatively.

Glenda Keet and Farieda Ely at the City Varsity Mandela Day breyani distribution point in Roeland Street, Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

''I just want something to eat,'' said ''Marocco'' as he hobbled over to the table.

''Here is a sandwich but wait a bit, the soup is coming,'' said one of Parliament's volunteers who did not want to be identified.

Marocco tilted his ''Time is Money'' baseball cap and sank into one of the benches outside Parliament to wait for the hot broth.

''Where is a little cold drink to wash this sandwich down?'' grumbled another woman.

''Just wait a little, there is soup coming,'' he repeated.

Homeless "Marocco" was pleased that he did not have to worry about lunch on Mandela Day. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Some homeless people arrived with plastics bags heaving with enough donated food to get them through a few days.

Parliament also had a table set up at the entrance to the Gardens near St  George's Cathedral.

''We made about 500 sandwiches and lots of soup,'' said Zambona Zisile.

''The kitchen volunteered to make it, and people donated some ingredients.''

Also read: #MandelaDay: 67 minutes of good news on News24

MPs were not present as they are on break.

Walking past and babbling away in various languages was a group of students from a nearby English language school, each carrying an empty paper box filled with sandwiches wrapped in a kitchen towel.

They did not get far as they were swarmed by children and adults alike asking for a sandwich.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  cape town  |  mandela day

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