Nkuna’s wife, a social worker, was the first person who alerted him to the plight of the hungry.
“People were already going hungry before Covid,” he says. “Now there are people who go three days without eating. The next thing that burns will be the Union Buildings.”
SA is not the only country suffering from price increases due to global conflicts. In Russia, where the voices of the many citizens who oppose war against Ukraine are oppressed, survival is a dodgy matter.
According to the Washington Post: “By the time the war started, Russians were already vulnerable to food price inflation. In a July 2021 survey, 60.4 percent of respondents said they spend about half of their monthly income on food. And the cost of food was a concern for nearly every family.
The survey said 96.3 percent of respondents drew attention to the rise in food prices. ‘In their opinion, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat, and vegetable oils have risen most of all,’ the survey found.”
Nkuna sees food sharing as an antidote to war. “If we can share food, the divides [in SA] between black, white, Indian and so-called coloured people will be shown as misconceptions. If we can learn, as African people, to share boerewors, onions and cabbage, we will discover that we have a lot more in common than we might have thought.”
He acknowledges the different meanings of food to different sectors of society, not only as a status symbol but as something that appeals to the appetite. "I was nine years old when I first tasted cheese," Nkuna says. "The man who owned a shop near the station gave me a piece of this yellow thing. I'm almost 50 now, but I will never forget that first taste."
Life is not not just about food, although food is essential because goodwill does not thrive on an empty stomach. Nkuna says the best way to spread the spirit of ubuntu in SA is by sharing nourishment.