2014 Tutu Fellow Sello Hatang mobilised the Nelson Mandela Foundation when it became apparent that South Africa would be facing a massive humanitarian crisis. Along with The Kolisi Foundation and the Imbumba Foundation, by the end of April his foundation had set up Each One Feed One with a start-up contribution of R500 000 from its own funds as an emergency relief vehicle, focusing on food security. It shortly thereafter began delivering food to starving people around the country.
Sello was also joined by 2013 Tutu Fellow Catherine Constantinides, who is an ambassador to the Each One Feed One programme.
The Nelson Mandela foundation quickly adopted a five-pronged strategy in which they committed to supporting emergency relief work, providing thought leadership in a challenging time, retooling our programmes, adapting our sustainability plan, and providing staff with the support they needed to work in the circumstances of isolation. The Each One Feed One programme was up and running in April with a jump-start of R500 000 from its own funds as an emergency relief vehicle, focusing on food security. Soon thereafter it began delivering food to starving people around the country.
The Kolisi Foundation and the Imbumba Foundation joined The Nelson Mandela Foundation as full institutional partners from the beginning. They focused on networks of vulnerable people who they had engaged in their routine work over the last few years, such as early childhood development practitioners in disadvantaged areas working in informal and unsubsidised creches, as well as other particularly vulnerable groupings like orphans, child-headed households and refugees.
Sello said that at the time of writing this post, they had reached thousands of people in need across seven of the country's nine provinces. He said they they had worked with structures of the state where possible and had been given extraordinary support by a range of companies from the private sector, the Canadian High Commission, and many individuals. He said that it had been a privilege to work shoulder-to-shoulder with South Africa's Rugby World Cup winning captain, Siya Kolisi and his wife, Rachel, who is a Women's Rights and anti-Gender-Based-Violence activist.
Sello said it was inspiring to see again and again the resilience of communities in desperate circumstances. But, he said, it had been hard to be confronted day in and day out by the extreme inequality and poverty that South African society had normalised over the years. "This can’t be right," he said. "And it isn’t sustainable. COVID-19 is calling us to make the deep structural changes our society so desperately needs."
You can see Sello and Catherine at work in the gallery below: