“Even though I have fat thighs, flabby arms, a pot-belly still gives good loving.”
The aforementioned lyrics, sung by the South African band, Freshly Ground, are words I have been living by my entire life. At 21, I still find myself awkwardly shimmying-because I cannot dance to save my life-to the sounds of some ‘big-girl pride’ song, my chubby cheeks flushed, suppressing bawdy laughter.
It was this sequence of events that got me thinking about food and the availability thereof in Cape Town, as well as a few healthy-living programmes that the city has to offer.
There are many free ‘boot-camp’ fitness centers in the Grassy Park and Lotus River areas. All you need to do in order to join any one of the programmes, is fill in a simple form containing your details and avail yourself on Monday and Thursday evenings. Being a stone-throw away from where I reside, I decided to start my ‘summer-body’/crash diet fitness regime by attending a rigorous three-hour boot-camp training session. After endless panting and breathlessness. I decided that being fat is better than torture, and never went back.
Food security has always been an ever-increasing dilemma that South Africans face, with the Rand weakening and inflation trends skyrocketing ever more.
This begs the question then of how communities can get involved in starting healthy-living initiatives and ensure that those who are less fortunate go from being the ‘have-nots’ to the ‘have-somethings’.
Perivale Primary school, located in Lotus River, took matters into their own hands by starting a school feeding scheme in 1997, which is still in operation today. The project was established by parents and teachers who noticed that students who were hungry struggled to concentrate in class. This feeding scheme serves both breakfast and lunch to needy students, ensuring that they receive nutritious meals at least five days a week.
Functioning on a largely voluntary basis, the organisation often battles to obtain funding in order to purchase everything they need, as committee member, Ghairieyah Herman, alluded to me. “We often need to take money out of our own pockets to buy ingredients used to make the food because the money is just not there.”
Local municipalities need to offer their assistance to worthy causes like this one, that are established purely for the embetterment of the community. The greater the financial aid provided, the more feeding schemes that could be started, ensuring that no child would go hungry.
Teaching people how to start and manage their own food-gardens-no matter how small their backyards are-would also be effective in the avenue of food security. Community members would not only learn a new skill-set, but also witness first-hand, the miracles of Mother Nature and the beauty of science.
Soup kitchens should be set up in every impoverished neighborhood, roping in local community leaders for financial assistance.
Food is one of our basic human needs and should be made available to each and every South African. Together we can!
ENDS/ 450 words