During the month of September, a prominent activist in Cape Town, Pastor Xola Skosana, embarked on a 30-day hunger strike to protest a host of injustices: extreme poverty, racial discrimination, unemployment, corruption and exploitation, among others. He has made headlines internationally for his strong stances against injustice over the years, and during his hunger strike he journaled daily. Below is an excerpt from Day 14 of his fast, which echoes beautifully the spirit behind not only our Pap and Porridge Fast, but the work of CHOSA as a whole:
This morning I found myself thinking about the number of meals I would have eaten this month, a whooping ninety, three meals a day. My favorite meat of the morning is a bowl of Oates which my wife prepares every morning for the four year old who goes to preschool. Thankfully there’s always enough left for me. I never thought I could face a day without it, but I have, fourteen to be precise.
Next is lunch, I never leave home in the morning without my lunch box. In the last six months I have downgraded to four slices of bread from six. My sandwich varies from tuna, to chicken, to egg, to polony and every once in a while, left overs from the previous night. Without fail I would have this with a cup of coffee at the office. Nine out of ten times I have some fruit, either an apple or a pear with me
My next meal of the day is always the best meal. Amongst many other gifts, my wife is a great cook. She serves dinner with passion and always adds a little bit of herself in it. I would have to kill you if I tell you what that is, she keeps her recipe a secret.
I consider myself privileged, three meals a day, everyday. What is more of an honor for me though is the opportunity I have this month, to give that all up in solidarity with the poor of our country who do not know where the next meal will come from. I may not know fully what that means, but the hunger pains and starvation I have voluntarily taken upon myself will hopefully teach me a little bit of the poverty experienced by countless others in this world.
When I will have gone back to my three meals a day, coffee and fruit, I hope I will have been transformed in the manner I relate to the weak and excluded in our society. More importantly, I hope my resolve to fight for justice and human dignity would have been strengthened.
My four year old keeps asking me why am I not eating and my wife and I keep telling her that that I am praying. Now I realize that I have missed the opportunity to tell her about the poor in our society who do not have food to eat and the need for us to share their pain. Hopefully it’s not too late to have that conversation with her.
Pastor Xola Skosana, Cape Town, SA
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