After seeing the hunger on the streets of Samora Machel in Phillipi, Cape Town, since the start of the national lockdown, Mzikayise “Mzi” Ndzuzo said he knew he had to do something to help the community. 

Soon after the lockdown was announced, Ndzuzo came together with a group of seven volunteers who donated their own limited funds to help buy the ingredients to start a soup kitchen from the local old age home.

This past week the group, going by the name of Samora Community Action Network (CAN), prepared 250 hot meals daily, Monday through Friday, helping particularly the elderly and children at need. 

“When the lockdown started, everyone in the community came knocking on my door because they knew how involved I am, and we tried our best to help where we can,” Ndzuzo, 39, told News24. “Because everyone right now is at home; everyone is going hungry.” 

He said soon after they started setting up the soup kitchen, a donor from the nearby Langa CAN donated R1000, and the Friends of Thandolwethu, a non-profit working in the area, set up a Backabuddy that has raised R15,000 this far. 

Donate to the Samora CAN soup kitchen here. 
Friends of Thandolwethu’s Annalisa Contrafatto said their focus was to set up an early development centre (ECD) in the community, but they soon changed focus to help Samora CAN when they saw the need caused by the national lockdown. 
“We are really just helping Mzi and his team however we can. They are really doing incredible work. They are heroes for that community.
Ndzuzo, a father of two whose daughter just turned nine months, has been working 12 hour days to help feed his community. 
He is joined by volunteers from his youth focused non-profit Ubuntubethu in Samora Machel, and two mothers who said they would like to donate their time.
“The mothers said they had nothing to do, and they saw the need in our community. They just wanted to help however they can,” Ndzuzo said.
He said the community is particularly hit by the lockdown with domestic workers and construction workers unable to return to work due to restrictions. 

Ndzuzo says he also is concerned about how they will be financially able to sustain the soup kitchen.
“I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, but today it’s making me happy to help feed a child. And I am choosing to focus on today.” 

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Everyday Hero – Cape Town township volunteers use own funds to start soup kitchen