The Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy in Khayelitsha now has a brand new community kitchen, which will operate as a service centre and provide nutritious meals to residents.
The Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, in partnership with the Pick ‘n Pay Foundation and Breaking Barriers Charity Drive, officially opened the kitchen on Sunday November 17.
It was a dream come true for the academy and it is hoped the kitchen will provide a much needed social service to the impoverished township and prevent young people from engaging in crime, drugs and gangsterism, which is rife in the area.
After arriving in a fleet of expensive cars, the deputy minister said the recent statistics by the South African Police Service show that Khayelitsha remains the epicentre of the most violent crimes in South Africa, and the Western Cape Province in particular.
She took the time to show the children the expensive cars, which included a Lamborghini, and told them not to look down on themselves and believe that one day they could own such vehicles.
“Today we stand tall. We are unwriting the bad that happened in this piece of land before we built this academy.
“Remember people were killed and raped on this piece of land. They could not go to work unharmed,” she said.
She said the kitchen would reduce hunger and malnutrition, which are some of the key development challenges in the area.
She said the intention was to complement the initiatives run by the academy by ensuring that children and youth from vulnerable households receive nutritious meals.
“There should be nutritious food every day. We will train food handlers.
“There will be food not only for children but older people and those who live alone and are on chronic medication,” said Ms Bogopane-Zulu.
Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy manager, Shaun Doch, thanked the donors and the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, for believing in the academy.
He said the aim of the community kitchen was to feed children and others in need.
Mr Winde also thanked the donors including the Department of Social Development for what he called an ongoing drive to make the academy a place of hope and opportunity.
He called on everyone to help build a safe environment for all. “We have to build a safe society. No one must break this place. Velokhaya has created this place as a place of hope and opportunity. It must stay like that. My interest and drive is safer societies,” he said.
The partnership with Pick * Pay and Breaking Barriers Charity Drive forms part of the Department’s Household Food and Nutrition Security Programme.
Under this programme, the department has established community nutrition and development centres to fight hunger and malnutrition.