Winter 2013 Newsletter

Click the thumbnail to read out our final newsletter of 2013:

2013 CHOSA WinterNewsletter_Thumbnail

Thank you to all of you who participated in our third annual Pap and Porridge Fast last week. Whether you fasted, donated, or followed our experiences via CHOSA’s blog, your contribution has carried us further in our mission to enrich the lives of vulnerable children through grassroots community empowerment. In three days, we raised a total of $1683, with more donations still rolling in! We can’t thank you enough for your support.

This week, people around the world mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. While Madiba, as he was known, gained international recognition as an anti-apartheid leader and later as the first president of a new government, we also remember his devotion to improving the lives of South Africa’s children. The idea that every child is entitled to grow up in safe, healthy, and nurturing environment is our inspiration and we are honored to help fulfill this vision.

Look out in your mailboxes this week for CHOSA’s year-end newsletter. We hope that the stories enclosed will inspire you and reaffirm your commitment to CHOSA’s cause, as we continue to bring hope to the children of South Africa.

Working on the QQ Section finances

QQ Section Shack Settlement: Andile, MakaPatrick and Mamfukula working on the QQ Section Children’s Committee finances. It was hot (almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit). There was no aircon. But they worked for hours and made it happen! #Self-empowerment #CapacityBuilding

Below is an article written by Jared Sacks (original link here: http://groundup.org.za/content/bank-drives-woman-brink-homelessness). The story is indicative of the issues which affect many of the communities and community members we work with.

Bank drives woman to brink of homelessness

December 9, 2013 – Jared Sacks
Published by Groundup News
Kutala Mtyali’s sits on the couch of her house, perhaps for the last day, and tries to piece together the ongoing saga of her 26 year struggle to keep her home. Family members help her with names and dates. She is on the brink of homelessness.

While the details of this story are unique, evictions of the poor and lower middle class have become a national crisis – one that tends to favour what housing activists perceive to be the greedy and often-times illegal lending practices of South Africa’s banks.

This story is not simple. Its spans more than three decades starting out in a tiny shack in Crossroads from which she was eventually forcibly removed. In 1987, she built her home in A Section, Khayelitsha, after receiving permission, by the City of Cape Town, to settle on the serviced site ERF 105. She received a letter giving her the rights through a 99 year lease, to live and build on the property. Today, a trespassing charge could, if a magistrate gets his way, result in her eviction once again.

Mtyali makes a big contribution to her community. She has fostered two children with disabilities and started a home for children with disabilities.

A history of debt Continue Reading »

Last night I came back home starving. I had been fasting eating only mealie-meal based pap for 6 full meals and despite having eaten pap for dinner, I was again starving for a pre-midnight snack.

I thought I was having a treat. Thinking about adding amasi (a sour milk drink that to me resembles Bulgarian yogurt) to my pap – called umphokoqo in isiXhosa – made my mouth water. This is one of my favourite snacks when I’m really starving and need something to hold me over for an hour.

The Recipe

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It’s pretty simple (and cheap) to make the basic version of umphokoqo. Here are the ingredients:

  • approx. 1 litre water
  • approx. 500 grams maize meal
  • 10 ml salt
  • 1 carton amasi


  • Bring a pot of water to the boil, add maize meal and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add salt and stir continuously to prevent lumps. Simmer for approximately 45 minutes.
  • Use a fork to stir until crumbly, cover with a lid and simmer for an hour on low heat or until water has evaporated.
  • Serve with amasi.

While Umphokoqo is pretty inexpensive, sometimes even milk and amasi are hard to come by. During tough times, even this staple food is sometimes hard to come by. Here’s what the finished product looks like:


Yet as I began eating, I immediately felt sick to my stomach. Something about the combination of mealie meal and amasi in those circumstances of hunger made it difficult to enjoy the meal at all. Despite my hunger, I couldn’t even finish my plate. I just felt awful, unsatisfied, and queezy…

…And got some bad heartburn too.

I wonder if I can ever enjoy umphokoqo again.

Speaking of which, I haven’t eaten in hours and I’m starved! When the diet is over, I’ll like to try this alternative version of umphokoqo with butternut (if I can stomach any more mealie meal).

Recipe: Umphokoqo with butternutblog4

  • Butternut, peeled and sliced
  • Samp or course maize meal (or risotto rice)
  • Chicken, or vegetable stock
  • Butter
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place the butternut in a heavy-based pot, dot with some chunks of butter and add about a cup’s worth of boiling water. Put the lid on, and braise over medium heat until just cooked.

In large pot over medium-high heat, cook the samp (or maize meal / rice) in the stock, following the same method as for risotto. Once cooked add the soft-braised butternut, a large glug of olive oil, a thick slice of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mix and mash as you go, adding more liquid if needed, and a little bit of parmesan cheese and sage if you’re feeling sophisticated.

There’s no real going wrong here, as long you as you aim for a hearty pot of carbohydrate goodness. And don’t be scared to add enough butternut, as the end result should be a lot more mashy than a proper risotto.


Breakfast this morning – porridge and water

It is day 3 of the fast. I have been feeling quite lightheaded and drained of energy throughout the day. What has been striking for me is how this diet, for just three days can leave me feeling weak and irritable. But this is the diet that so many children and adults in South Africa, and in the rest of Africa rely on for weeks or maybe even months on end.

I have been challenged to consider how much I am looking forward to the end of this fast while many of the children who are on this diet have no meal to look forward to after 3 days. Mine is a diet of choice, theirs is one of necessity.

What has been most challenging for me, however, is how I will respond to the needs and hunger of those in need after these three days of fasting. As a Christian, I am drawn to think about the biblical account of what genuine fasting should look like. It says that fasting should be more than just intentional hunger. Instead, those who fast should share their food with the hungry, their houses with the homeless and seek to put an end to oppression and trouble (Isaiah 58 verse 6-7). I hope I can carry the concern and empathy that this fast has allowed me to have into my daily actions towards those who have less.

Hello CHOSA family!

Thank you to everyone who has supported our Pap & Porridge Fast in recognition of World AIDS Day! Today is the 3rd and final day of the fast, and while it has been exhausting and difficult for those of us fasting, we are encouraged and strengthened by the support of so many donors. We have raised $1,083 so far, and our goal is to reach $2,500 by midnight tonight! Haven’t had a chance to donate yet? Please visit www.chosa.org/fast.

One friend of CHOSA, a New Orleans high school teacher named Desiree Tucker, was so moved by our show of solidarity with South Africa’s poor and vulnerable children that she encouraged her entire classroom to act. Her Kipp New Orleans Leadership Academy students have raised $145 for CHOSA so far, and have been engaging in questions-and-answers with CHOSA’s Ellie Gunderson regarding nutrition issues and the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa. Their main question was, “How is it possible for so many people to be living in poverty, while we all for the most part sit idly by and do nothing?”

We are so grateful to Ms. Tucker’s class for their desire to stand up and act, and we encourage each of you to do the same. Every cent raised will go to support community efforts to better the lives of vulnerable children through providing safe and loving homes, educational opportunities, nutritional support, and more. Our fast team members are especially grateful for your support of their sacrifice: Alma Anides, Solitude Dasie, Elena Echevarria, Burak Erem, Jennifer Erem, Ellie Gunderson, Hunja Koimburi, Zukie Mabuya, Dineo Moiloa & Jared Sacks. You can read about our experiences here on our blog - we would love your comments and feedback!

Thank you again for your generosity. If you haven’t yet given, we encourage you to do so before the fast ends tonight at midnight - visit www.chosa.org/fast. The children and communities that CHOSA serves will be so grateful for every donation, large and small, made in this final day!

In solidarity,

Jennifer Erem & Ellie Gunderson

Fundraising Coordinators, CHOSA

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