Friday, 18 July 2014, in McGregor dawned: a cold, blustery morning. It was also the first Mandela Day since his death in December 2013; he would have been 95. Later that day I was heading down to our local community service centre (aka the police station) to join a sandwich drive.
This, juxtaposed with my my rant, the previous evening, about dieting fads and food foibles, got me thinking about how privileged I am, to be able not just to have the pleasure of cooking, but of food, in all its glory, when there are people, literally down the road, who do eat to live – when they can.
For the last two years, a young McGregorite has organised this initiative. This must have taken Mira much more than just the 67 minutes she asked of us to give, to organise.
So, a bunch of us, of all colours and creeds, from all walks of life, gathered at around 11h00, to make sandwiches.
By about 11h45, this happy band of volunteers had made this huge mound of sandwiches to go with the soup that came from Lord’s Guest Lodge.
I didn’t just join the sandwich drive, I also joined the convoy to deliver the sandwiches and soup. First, to the Breede Centre which runs a holiday programme of for local children, then on to the informal settlement and the poorest parts of our village.
The sandwiches and hot soup, along with the treats made a difference – at least for a short while.
For me, there was also a weird moment. There was a time that it would have been inconceivable that I would set foot in a police station to be part of a community initiative: the police represented the oppressors and meted out their orders. These orders were usually punitive and harsh; they certainly did not include feeding people in informal settlements.
Much remains to be done in our country and village of poor and plenty, but that I, and my fellow sandwich-makers were able to comfortably join this initiative, is a consequence of Nelson Mandela who gave 67 years of selfless service. Halala, Tata.