Goldman Sachs 10000 Women

The Hunger Games….

Yudhika at Montsi Primary School....Lesotho with the World Food Programme

Yudhika at Montsi Primary School….Lesotho with the World Food Programme

This is an uncomfortable blog to write….it takes me back to a rather sad and unpleasant time in my life….fortunately, I have had many ‘happy endings’ which makes writing this much easier!

I have experienced hunger a few times….my family were not wealthy and putting a meal on the tables at times was just not possible. Growing up in an Indian community meant that everything was ‘hush-hush’ – I did not speak about it…actually nobody spoke about it! It was a game we played…pretending that everything was fine!

A packed school lunch was a luxury – my dad tried, I suppose but it just wasn’t enough. I cried sometimes…just feeling so overwhelmed by such poverty, helplessness and embarrassment. Don’t get me wrong, there were good times too but every now and then, our lives were punctuated with hunger! I did not starve, but I sure know what it feels like to be hungry.

Why Not Montsi Primary School...

Why Not I….at Montsi Primary School…

There were lots of people who looked down upon us….judging and being harsh with words. But there were people who also shared their meals with us. I will always be grateful…there were just a few and I can count them on my fingers. I often think about those kids that I went to school with who just shared their sandwiches without asking too many questions…I am still in touch with them…old school friends like Prinola Gurie (Australia) and Sharon Srikisoon Chetty (Houston, Texas) – thank you two for being such awesome friends! During those difficult times, I dreamt the biggest dreams…and was grew determined and head strong…I grew a voice to match my determination!

I met Claudia Altorio from the World Food Programme in 2012 and while chatting, I just suddenly shared my story with her….my childhood tales from days I long to sometimes forget. I joined the World Food Programme because being hungry leaves memories of desperation that I will never forget! My second recipe book, Curry Me Home, Again has raised R30000 for WFP and I will continue raising funds through my projects! There has been much to celebrate over the years….a successful food brand, two recipe books, TV shows, the AMC brand ambassadorship, the Goldman Sachs Scholarship, Winning first prize at the Gordon Institute of Business Science Business Plan Competition….writing a column for the Post Newspaper…and now being featured weekly on SABC 2’s Mela! At every winning moment, I pause, and look back to see the girl I used to be….because without her, there would be no drive and determination!

Yudhika with the WFP team in Lesotho

Yudhika with the WFP team in Lesotho

World Food Day is coming up on the 16 October and I would like to say, ‘Hunger is the world’s most solvable problem!’ Every little bit counts, so please do spare a thought for those less fortunate! An unfortunate start can sometimes take you on the most beautiful journey and it is on this journey that I learnt the greatest lessons!

I would like to thank everyone….everyone that travelled on my journey and been a part of it! And to those that didn’t, thank you for making me even more determined to succeed. A huge heartfelt thanks to the companies that I work for and represent…AMC Cookware, KtichenAid and Spar!

So while I celebrate life and feast on my blog, I ask you to be a part of my journey….click ‘Follow’ on my blog…and leave a comment if you have read this….I will be donating R1 for every follower (even existing followers) to the World Food Programme! This is not my original idea….Two days ago, I was desperately craving a KFC Zinger burger! I rushed off to the KFC drive through and the lady at the ‘drive through’ asked me, “Would you like to ‘ADD HOPE'”? I said yes…and thought…surely I can find a way to ADD HOPE too! And this is my way…and I am hoping that you ADD HOPE too!

This week’s lust haves…

Sun Goddess at Nelson Mandela Square

Sun Goddess at Nelson Mandela Square

With all the madness, I always find time to shop. Sometimes, it’s even when I am not even thinking about shopping. So this is my woeful story…My shopping this time started at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. I had popped in after my marketing block with Ricardo Machado. He was fabulously entertaining…born in Cuba, raised in the States and blessed with nine lives. I left the two day session with Ricardo feeling like I could start a revolution!

African Queen Handbag...

African Queen Handbag…

Back to the lust haves….I walked into Gibs to find that some of the 10000 Women delegates had set up displays of their products. And my eyes immediately fell on an Ostrich handbag….I just knew this was going to be trouble! Turned out this African Queen handbag was R8000.00. I was already reeling from the previous week’s shopping and then I spotted the most fabulous red patent handbag. I wanted it and then told the assistant that I would pop back to fetch. Imagine my horror, when I returned and found another delegate coveting my find…visions of KUNG FU FIGHTING from the HEAT advert popped up in my head. My opponent was taller than me and fitter too…so I did the cowardly thing and whipped out my credit card and instructed the assistant to put the transaction through immediately!

Nicola from African Queen is also part of the Goldman Sachs 10000 Women Program. Learning more about her business (I found this out on Facebook) made me feel fantastic about supporting her! One of the aims of African Queen is to support a feeding scheme – and also create much needed jobs. Handbags off to the African Queen Team! I do plan on visiting the store soon to view the bags and accessories…there is a Zebra print handbag that I have my eye on…and I would love to practice my shopping skills! Contact details: African Queen – Shop 9, The Parks, Cnr Jan Smuts & Wells Ave, Parkwood, 2193.

Next stop was Queen Street in Kensington. I roped my mom into coming along with promises of Trinchado and freshly baked Portuguese bread. But first, we needed to shop for props for my new recipe book. We headed off to ‘Ye Olde Collector’. Goodness Gracious!!! I think there is enough cutlery and crockery in this store for a few lifetimes…..Noritake, Royal Albert and Limoge….plus a hundred others that I have never heard off. Best you walk sideways in this store. There are plates, cups, saucers, ornaments, glasses and bowls everywhere! If you are shopping in Kensington…I would advise you to take your time and carry a Ventolin Pump…whether you have Asthma or not, you will surely need it. We left the store with a huge box of the antique platters, plates, bowls and some fine crystal ware too. After negotiating a good discount and then another discount after the discount…the haggling still went on a bit and when my mom started rolling her eyeballs at me, I knew it was time to wrap things up. I left the store feeling like I had done the owner a special favour by taking away at least some of his problems!

The 36 buck trinchado at Euro Cafe!

The 36 buck trinchado at Euro Cafe!

Next, it was Trinchado time at Euro Cafe on Queen Street. At 36 bucks a portion served with a bread roll plus a large plate of chips at R8.50…almost too good to be true but true! Now, these chips are worth a special mention….somewhere between edges and chunky chips, they are the home made sort that taste great when they are crammed into a bread roll and drowned in peri peri sauce. Two sodas and two starters, Portuguese rolls with a pretty price tag of R103.00! Oh, one more thing about Euro Cafe is they do sell those delicious red cakes that are dunked in a pinky red syrup and rolled in coconut.

Vanya Mangaliso's creations at Sun Goddess...Happy Spring Day!

Vanya Mangaliso’s creations at Sun Goddess…Happy Spring Day!

We finished off with a trip to Sandton Square for a quick whizz past the Antiques Fair. A few things that were interesting but lack of credit card facilities brought my antique shopping to an abrupt end. So, our weekend shopping ended with a stop at Vanya’s store, Sun Goddess at The Square. I think I must have tried on twenty different dresses and was coaxed into trying a few of her ‘SEE ME ON’ pieces…handbags, beaded earrings, shwe shwe (my favourite) dresses and even shoes!

Shopping can be so tiring...feet up after a long day!

Shopping can be so tiring…feet up after a long day!

I started my ‘lust have’ shopping at African Queen and it ended at Sun Goddess…two iconic South African brands…coincidence or is it just the way shopping should be?