FEEL GOOD: Local man starts free bread initiative for those less fortunate during lockdown

Ramatsomane Tlhopane decided to start an initiative to give away bread in his area (Photo: Facebook/Ramatsomane Tlhopane)
Ramatsomane Tlhopane decided to start an initiative to give away bread in his area (Photo: Facebook/Ramatsomane Tlhopane)

It’s said that unity comes in different forms, and that’s exactly what this Sharpeville resident is proving with his kindness.

Ramatsomane Tlhopane of Sharpeville, one of the oldest townships in Southern Gauteng, decided to start an initiative to give away bread in his area.

The Good Samaritan leaves a wooden pallet filled with loaves of bread and a placard that reads “free bread” on a street corner for those less fortunate to help themselves.

The 35-year-old who’s popularly known as Tsumi in his neighbourhood, has always had a passion for giving back to those less fortunate. After realising the direct impact the 21-day lockdown had on people in the township, he was inspired to start the campaign.

“Four days ago while I was having my breakfast I thought about those less fortunate and how they were coping during this dire time in our country,” Ramatsomane said speaking to YOU.

“I took a wooden bread pallet and started drilling a wooden plank to it to place the placard.”

With only R100 to spare at the time, the father-of-three headed over to a local store and decided to purchase loaves of bread which were roughly priced at R10 each. Although he was able to purchase at least 10 loaves he felt they weren’t enough.

“I then asked the store owner to please give me 10 more loaves on credit, which brought the total number of loaves to 20.”

Moments after leaving the bread on the pallet in the street corner at Phumasbethane, an informal settlement in Sharpeville, people started helping themselves to it, said Tsumi.

“It was such a fulfilling moment.”

Seeing just how much he had done with the little that he had, encouraged him to reach out to some of his friends on Facebook for assistance.

“I shared a picture of the wooded pallet and asked everyone either passing by to leave bread in the pallet or donate money towards buying more.”

In total on day one, Tsumi was able to purchase bread worth R3 000, thanks to the help of some of his Facebook friends and community.

“The response the initiative has received is so overwhelming. Thank you to everyone for the support.”

Tsumi has also emphasised the importance of social distancing. “I always use the arm-stretch technique to create a safe distance between those standing in line,” he explained.

“My duty is simply to drop off the bread and keep a safe distance away. I’ve also strictly emphasised the importance of taking your bread and leaving immediately.”

As it stands, the self-employed entrepreneur has managed to give away about 400 loaves per day in three different informal settlements in Sharpeville. But he worries about the sustainability of the initiative.

“I’d like to appeal to those who have the capacity to assist to do so. We want this initiative to spread throughout Soweto and maybe one day become a nationwide campaign.”

Tsumi also appealed to companies and brands for sponsorship.

“We may be divided because of the 21-day lockdown but when we put our hearts and minds together for a common cause like this, we’re united.”

 (Photo: Facebook/Ramatsomane Tlhopane)

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