Vodacom provide food security across South Africa for Mandela Day
JOHANNESBURG – Braving this year’s winter chill, Vodacom staff members in seven centres across the country’s nine provinces packed thousands of food parcels for learners from previously disadvantaged schools.
This initiative forms part of a larger project which the Vodacom Foundation is rolling out across the country, building on its inaugural food security drive launched in honour of the International Nelson Mandela Day in 2013. This year the project will see a total of 30 000 food parcels packed by Vodacom employees and will be distributed when schools reopen next week.
Learners and their families will each receive nutritious food parcels consisting of peanut butter, baked beans in tomato sauce, canned meat, sugar beans, mixed fruit jam, pilchards in tomato sauce, maize meal and powdered milk.
Vodacom Group Chief Executive Office, Shameel Joosub explained that:
“Ubuntu is one of the values that we espouse at Vodacom and, as such, the occasion of Nelson Mandela Day offers us the privilege to extend human kindness to others, especially those who are less fortunate in our country. This we do in the spirit of wanting to change the world for the better, just as Madiba did.”
“Madiba sacrificed most of his youth and adult life to give the majority of South Africans a taste of freedom. At Vodacom, in turn, we like to celebrate Mandela Day to emulate the servant leadership that our beloved Madiba so perfectly displayed, giving oneself in order to touch somebody else’s life,” said Joosub.
In addition to food packing, Vodacom volunteers will be committing their #67 Minutes to assist communities across South Africa. This will be done in partnership with Food & Trees for Africa, South Africa’s greening and environmental organisation. Seven food gardens, spread across South Africa, will receive an eager group of people to get digging on 19 and 20 July. Volunteers will spend the day interacting with the beneficiary members, planting an assortment of vegetable seedlings, enhancing the soil with compost and laying mulch.
Vodacom, a long-standing partner of the National Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will continue to partner both organisations in its quest to make South Africa a better place to live in.
Thousands of volunteers, including Blue Bulls rugby players, the DBE, Vodacom and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will race the clock to pack as many food parcels as possible within 67 minutes. Once their time is up, a new team will take over.
Joosub says: “I’m excited to announce that since we launched the Nelson Mandela Food Packing programme in 2013, Vodacom staff members have packed in excess of 150 000 food parcels to date that have been shared with learners from impoverished backgrounds. We’ll use this milestone to reinforce our Food Security programme.”
CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, says: “This year marks the fourth year with Vodacom as a dedicated partner, helping to take Madiba’s legacy forward.”
“We would like to urge other blue chip organisations such as Vodacom to play an active role and support Nelson Mandela Day. By devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mr. Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good.”