Charity Run By Indian-Origin Serves Million Cups Of Tea In South Africa

Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 10:32 Hrs
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DURBAN: A South African Indian religious leader has hosted a three-day celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of his charity which serves daily free breakfast to patients in the Indian township of Chatsworth.

The commemorate the anniversary a dozen huge pots of biryani were served to poor patients awaiting treatment at the state-run R K Khan hospital which was followed by games and lucky-draw competition.

Appalsamy Pentiah, 65, initiated the project a decade ago after he saw scores of elderly men and women and young children with mothers sitting in the queues with no food or drink for hours and no money to buy this.

Since its inception, more than a million cups of tea have been provided to patients, some of whom arrive as early as four in the morning to get a place in the queue.

Joe Twala, 51, said he walked the return trip of eight kilometres from his home every month to collect medicines for his chronic ailments.

"The walk is made easier with the thoughts that there will be hot tea and breakfast waiting for me," Twala said.

It took three months for Pentiah to beat the bureaucratic government procedures and secure permission from the hospital management to start making tea and serving sandwiches to the eager patients.

The idea snowballed from there as scores of volunteers from various churches in the area joined the 'Tea for Africa' project.

"They also take care to ensure that there are vegetarian sandwiches for us, because many of us are strict Hindus," said Malawathie Naidoo, a pensioner who said she spent her small budget for the day on transport to the hospital, so the free treat was very welcome.

Local entertainers also joined in the celebrations to bring a smile to the faces of many in the queue.
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