There is no dignity in hunger. Access to food is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, requiring it be made available for everyone, without discrimination, always. But despite the right to food being linked to the right to life and dignity, several people still go to bed hungry and some literally die in their sleep because of hunger. Every person with the means to mitigate the adversities of others, therefore, has a moral obligation to do so, says Nosipho Fakude, CEO of NS Impact Foundation. 

“Hunger is one of the most pressing issues facing the destitute and to combat this issue, NS Impact is creating awareness through a campaign called Breaking Bread by giving away 1000 meals on Good Friday,” – Fakude.

The recipients of the meals which include the elderly, destitute and homeless will be treated to a heart-warming meal, cooked by Chef Mbombi, dubbed the African cuisine chef. But Fakude does not want the good deed to simply end with the targeted community of KwaMashu, north of Durban. 

The foundation will also give away over 200 bags to the less fortunate on Saturday in KwaMashu and Durban Central. The bags include materials such as raincoats, reflectors, personal care goods, sanitary pads and blankets to alleviate the hardships of living on the streets.  

To maximise reach and impact, the NS Impact Foundation in partnership with Masego “Maps” Maponyane and DJ Zinhle Jiyane, has invited their two ambassadors to encourage their fan base to prepare a meal for the less fortunate in their various communities. 

To achieve this task, South Africa’s favourite staple, Tastic Rice, has also come on board as the official sponsor for Breaking Bread.

Fakude says having Tastic Rice as a sponsor, which has been an integral entity of the cultural fibre of many South African communities for over 60 years bolsters their efforts to feed the vulnerable. 

“Food not only nourishes us physically but also enhances our shared ideals. But rather than limit this momentous occasion to the KwaMashu community we want the whole country to partake in giving back and what better way to spread the spirit of Good Friday than by filling the belly of someone in need,” – Fakude. 

Every year, according to the international relief agency Mercy Corps, around 9 million people die of hunger, which is more than the death toll of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. But hunger often goes unnoticed and even when it is reported does not garner the attention of other socio-economic ills.  

The delipidating effects of COVID-19 have further exacerbated the issue of hunger globally and here in South Africa, the rising levels of unemployment further add to the widening gap between the haves and have nots.

The people that suffer the most are always the most vulnerable and this has been the same with the pandemic. Families already struggling to make ends meet have been further plunged into despair, leaving most of them to rely on food parcels from NGOs and the government. 

Fakude believes everyone can make a significant contribution in positively changing the lives of those most affected by poverty. 

“But even when low-income communities do have access to food, often that food lacks the necessary nutrients and is packed with sugars and unhealthy fats. This can lead to stunted growth in children and other morbidities which left unaddressed can lead to a loss of life which could have been preventable,” – Fakude.   

The increase in food prices has also negatively affected people’s eating habits. According to the household affordability index report by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, the cost of an average household food basket increased by almost R200 to just more than R4,000 a month between September and January.

“When people break bread together, they tend to listen and engage with each other. Often as a society, we render impoverished people invisible, indifferent to their suffering and plight for something as basic as a meal. This needs to change and Breaking Bread is our attempt at restoring people’s dignity by providing them with the necessary nourishment, so they are not limited by hunger in their pursuit of agency and a better life,” concludes Fakude.