My dad is my hero. Obviously.
My dad is a South African treasure and he doesn't even hold the nationality.
My dad has been a chef for the past 50 years and has spent 40 of those in South Africa actively building the Chef's Association of South Africa. While focused on empowering youth and building the culinary empire that is the food industry of South Africa today, my dad has always given back. It seems strange putting it that way because it's never been a side hobby, or side activity or a parallel, it's always just been the status quo.
My dad has always been the first to put up his hand to participate in some kind of volunteering, organising of community work, but more importantly the empowering of individuals.
This is most true for the work he did during the initial 21 day COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa. My dad in conjunction with Thava Indian Restaurant implement a food scheme to ensure that less fortunate communities, and in particular vulnerable women and children, could secure access to at least one cooked meal a day. This project, which started with humble beginnings, has since expanded across communities not only in Gauteng but across the country to feed over 100,000 people and involve dozens of NGOs who have either benefited from the project or been inspired to start their own.
This has further led to the creation of multiple other organisations including Service For Motion that 200-plus days into the COVID-19 lockdown has instituted a foolproof long term plan to continue to provide food to those most in need.
My dad is a hero because he's always seen the long term play. He's always looked past what is needed now for what can always be provided.
My dad has empowered individuals and communities he doesn't even know about through his kindness, generosity and love for food. The best part? He does it because he loves it, not because anybody asks, but because the power of a smile generates his soul beyond anything else.
My dad is my hero. My dad is a national treasure.