67 000 Meals for Mandela Day in South Africa

17 Jul 2020

Slow Food’s chefs in South Africa and other parts of the world join Mandela’s day to produce 67.000 meals, aiming to bring relief to the plight of food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year on July 18, the world celebrates Nelson Mandela Day, remembering Mandela’s achievements in working toward conflict resolution, democracy, and human rights. In 2020 the Nelson Mandela Foundation is focusing its Mandela Day efforts on education and food and nutrition.


Based on the principle of good, clean, and fair food for all, Slow Food International and Slow Food Chefs Alliance will take Mandela’s initiative globally. They will be challenging other Slow Food communities in other parts of the world to celebrate the day in solidarity with South Africa, and to assist in raising funds. 

“Nelson Mandela is not only the respected world icon in the fight for justice for Black people, but in South Africa Madiba (as we affectionately call him) is loved as the wise and compassionate leader of our new democracy. As such Mandela Day gives us, as South Africans, an opportunity to heed Madiba’s call to stand united in our fight for social justice by engaging in actions that serve those most in need. This year, it is with honour that we do this by aligning with the Mandela campaign  of #Each1Feed1,” says Caroline Mccann, the International Councilor for Southern Africa.


Mandela Day is about action against poverty, with the overarching message being to ‘Take action, inspire change’. Covid-19 has brutally exposed the deep inequality in most societies and is thrusting millions more around the world into poverty. In South Africa, the effects of Covid-19 have been severe. An estimated number of  8 million people who went hungry at least 2 days a week has now gone to an estimated 20 million people who daily have no access to food since the Covid-19 lockdown in March. Hunger wasn’t caused by the spread of Covid-19, but measures to contain the virus have exacerbated a long-term pandemic of inequality and poverty. 

On July 18, the birthday of Nelson Mandela, members of the public and corporate South Africa will be called upon to donate money in order to provide meals to vulnerable communities in the months to come.

Meals on Wheels will be used as the distribution network to deliver the buckets of soup and bread rolls into vulnerable communities. Celebrities and influencers will join in the 67 000-meal compassionate cooking initiative at participating restaurants and cooking schools near them, while adhering to strict social distancing and practicing Covid-19 hygiene protocols to further entrench this important message. Every available food truck in each South African city will be called to turn the vehicle into a food ambulance for the day, branded with blue crosses and delivering soup and bread to specific beneficiary organisations in the townships. Emergency services will accompany the food trucks with flashing lights and fanfare.


To give a public voice to the initiative, a radio partner will be identified in several cities around the country, and paired with a well-known chef to be the face of the compassionate cooking initiative and fundraising drive. The chef will lead the campaign in their city, challenging the public and other chefs to get involved in cooking as many portions of soup as possible to contribute towards the goal of 67 000 meals. The public will be invited to deliver ingredients to their local radio station. 

The number 67 symbolizes every year of President Mandela’s public service for South Africa. Throughout the years, he was one of the world’s passionate defenders of the right to food.

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