Elderly residents of Nomzamo Township in Mlungisi were treated to warm meals on Saturday by local businessman Phikolomzi Jomo Jaxa in his 67 minutes for Nelson Mandela Day.
Jaxa, an ex-convict turned entrepreneur, said a conversation with a friend led him to want to honour the day dedicated to the former struggle icon by feeding the elderly in his area.
Known for selling delectable African dishes at his Esbindini residence, Jaxa cooked and fed 15 elderly people with his signature dish.
“I chose old people because I noticed that this pandemic was mostly affecting them and we need to show our appreciation while they are alive. We are in a war with this virus so I did not want them to feel they were being left behind, especially as some did not receive food parcels when they were rolled out. Their safety was very important to me, so I made sure everyone wore masks and were sanitised when entering my premises. I also ensured that social distancing was observed for their safety and that of others,” said Jaxa.
He added that this was his way of giving back to the community that he had wronged in the past. “It is known that I am an ex-offender who has been out of prison only four years. Helping my community and society at large was the resolution I took before I was released. That is why I do not resist when helping others. I was also sending a message to the youth that instead of robbing old people, we should help them, to build trust between old and young people and to provide them with the little we have because their sons and daughters are my loyal customers. I hope this will inspire others and motivate the unmotivated,” he said.
Owner of Luhle Vegies, Qaphela Fedana, was at Ezibeleni on Saturday to donate vegetable hampers worth R3000 to the Sinethemba Organisation for his Nelson Mandela Day 67 minutes.
The budding entrepreneur said he wanted to give back to his community and assist struggling families during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Growing up in Ezibeleni, a place rich with uBuntu as well poverty, donating is not a decision to be made bit is rather a natural instinct to inspire and lighten the load of those in distress, especially with this pandemic among us. The day was overwhelming, but it has also inspired me to do more and work hard, not only for me, but for every young child who goes to sleep with an empty stomach,” said Fedana.
Along with the hampers the soup kitchen received bread which was donated by Sasko bakery.
Manager of Sinethemba, Snowy Kambule, said the hampers had been a great help as they had had to close their doors because of the pandemic.
“When I made the call to the families they were very happy. We have been running a soup kitchen, but since lockdown we have been struggling. We have about 60 children in our care and it has been a very hard time for those dependent on us,” said Kambule.