Chefs with Compassion launches fifth annual #67000litres challenge for Mandela Day

Chef Coo Pillay with HTA School of Culinary Art students announcing the final number of litres of soup cooked for Mandela Day 2023. Picture: Supplied

Chef Coo Pillay with HTA School of Culinary Art students announcing the final number of litres of soup cooked for Mandela Day 2023. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 9, 2024


Durban — South Africa's leading culinary initiative dedicated to fighting hunger, Chefs with Compassion, proudly announces the launch of its fifth annual #67000litres for Mandela Day campaign. This year's initiative marks a significant milestone as it coincides with the fifth anniversary of the campaign's inception, born shortly after the onset of lockdown in South Africa.

Last year 104 360 litres of soup were cooked and served to food vulnerable communities across the country, uniting chefs, community caterers, NGOs, and corporates to cook and distribute nutritious meals, supported by generous donations from the poultry industry.

In their press release, the #67000litres for Mandela Day campaign invites chefs, cooks, corporates, and individuals alike to join forces in a collective effort to cook 67 000 litres of soup on Mandela Day, July 18. This initiative not only honours the legacy of Nelson Mandela but also addresses the pressing issue of food insecurity across the nation.

Building on the remarkable success of the 2023 campaign, which saw an overwhelming 104 360 litres of soup cooked by 114 dedicated participants, Chefs with Compassion aims to once again surpass expectations. Participants from diverse backgrounds – including chefs, community caterers, NGOs, and caring corporates – will unite to cook and distribute nutritious meals to those in need.

Founding director of Chefs with Compassion, Chef Coo Pillay, said that they are thrilled to embark on the fifth edition of the #67000litres Challenge.

“This campaign symbolises the power of unity and compassion within South Africa's culinary community. Together, we can make a profound difference in the lives of thousands facing hunger.”

She also said that over the past four years, the campaign has seen a tremendous outpouring of support, resulting in a total of 1,373,564 cups of soup served to those in need:

  • 2020: 309 820 cups
  • 2021: 283 588 cups
  • 2022: 362 716 cups
  • 2023: 417 440 cups
Mogau Seshoene (The Lazy Makoti) and Chef Dede. Picture: Supplied

The organisations stated that as the fifth anniversary of this impactful campaign is commemorated, it is important to recognise the increasing hunger statistics over the last four years. According to recent reports, food insecurity has been on the rise, with more South Africans facing hunger due to economic challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A special highlight of this year's campaign is the generous support from the poultry industry. Astral and Country Bird Holdings have each donated chicken worth R67 000. TopLay has joined the initiative for the first time, donating 67 dozen eggs in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. These contributions are vital for the community kitchens that collect rescued food weekly from Chefs with Compassion, cook nutritious meals, and feed hungry people. The poultry industry’s participation, along with the Joburg Fresh Produce Market’s donation of fresh vegetables, makes it possible for these kitchens to participate in the challenge.

Editor of the SA Poultry Association magazine Poultry Bulletin, Melinda Shaw, which drives the industry’s meat and egg donations, commented: “Poultry producers are the best! The industry has had one of the most difficult years in its history, with bird flu wiping out 10 million birds, on top of the costs incurred to handle dragging municipal service delivery problems and electricity challenges. And yet, when we asked them to help with the Mandela Day soup challenge again, they immediately agreed. We are proud to donate chicken meat to the value of multiples of 67 in honour of Madiba.”

Individuals and corporates are encouraged to participate by registering on the Chefs with Compassion website. Corporates can support a kitchen with a donation of R25 000, receiving a Section 18A certificate and the opportunity for their team to cook alongside chefs for 67 minutes. Additionally, compassionate companies can Back A Kitchen for R6.70 per litre, contributing directly to the production of nutritious soup for communities in need.

The impact of the #67000litres Challenge extends far beyond Mandela Day, providing ongoing support to Chefs with Compassion’s network of kitchen hubs across the country. These hubs rescue surplus food weekly and transform it into meals that nourish over 400 000 individuals annually.

To join Chefs with Compassion in their mission to Rescue, Cook, and Feed, visit to register or make a donation. Together, every day can be a Mandela Day by combating food waste and hunger across South Africa.

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