The Brewery at Hemel-en-Aarde Village was a hive of activity from 16 to 18 July, as volunteers, celebrities and stakeholders came together to honour Madiba’s legacy. While the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday usually requires 67 minutes of effort to make a difference in our communities, this year The Brewery decided to make it a three-day affair.

Springbok Captain, Siya Kolisi peeling vegetables in The Brewery under a portrait of Nelson Mandela. PHOTO: Hedda Mittner

Between Thursday and Saturday they “brewed” and distributed 27 000 portions of nutritious soup to hungry people in needy communities all over the region, from Kleinmond, Hawston and Caldeon, to Mount Pleasant, Zwelihle, Masakhane, Blompark, Buffeljags and Baardskeerdersbos. The number was symbolic of the 27 years that Mandela had spent in prison, and the initiative was a collaboration between the Brewers Soup Collective, Zelda le Grange, Mandela’s former private secretary, and the Kolisi Foundation.

There was great excitement when Springbok Captain, Siya Kolisi, himself arrived on Friday with his wife Rachel to lend a helping hand with the prepping of the vegetables. Marc de Maudave Bestel, co-owner of The Brewery, said he was extremely grateful to Zelda for liaising with the Kolisi Foundation, and to the dozens of volunteer veggie preppers who assisted his team in producing 3 000 litres of soup on each of the three days – enough to feed 9 000 people a day.

“It is the most economical way of producing food on a massive scale,” he said. “It not only makes us feel useful, but it gives us a way to keep our team busy while we are unable to brew beer. “

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