Giving thanks to those who make it happen

Mayor Dan Plato with volunteers Gasnat Smith and Nikiswe Nocanda.

My Father’s House, a community kitchen, in Simon’s Town has fed more than 250 000 people since the start of national lockdown in March last year, according to it founder, Pastor Shaddie Valayadum.

On Saturday, the kitchen held a day of thanksgiving for its supporters. Among the guests were Cape Town mayor Dan Plato, City of Cape Town speaker Felicity Purchase, ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock, Sub-council 19 chairperson Patricia Francke and sub-council manager Desiree Mentor.

On arrival, guests were treated to coffee and sweet treats made by Liza Valayadum, the wife of Pastor Valayadum and, later, lamb biryani cooked by him.

TV personality and chairman of the board Nico Panagio spoke about the history of the kitchen and how it had been established during lockdown last year.

From day one, he said, there had been people in need and from day one, Pastor Shaddie, as he is fondly referred to, and his family had had a system set up to feed the needy.

“All around us, people got together, making sandwiches, collecting fruit, boiling eggs, and then another group would package the food and another group would deliver it,” he said.

Mr Panagio said he had been fortunate to work with Pastor Shaddie.

“It takes a village to serve a village,” he said.

Pastor Shaddie said: “Today we are going to take our focus off feeding the poor and the vulnerable and focus on the people who make this happen and our volunteers. I want to also thank our merciful God who provided continuously for us.”

Among those he thanked were the Community Action Networks (CAN) across the far south; local and national investors; international donors; the City of Cape Town; and the Care Company, a non-profit organisation that works with My Father’s House (“My Father’s House cooks up a storm for the needy,” Echo March 18).

Since lockdown, My Father’s House had extended its reach to other communities, including Capricorn, Pelican Park, Mitchell’s Plain, Firgrove, Macassar and Grassy Park, he said.

Mayor Plato said it was “all about feeding people and saving lives”, and he thanked Pastor Shaddie for helping the community.

“There are so many hungry people out there. They don’t know what they are going to eat today and even that little ‘bakkie’ of food will carry them through the day. I want to use this opportunity to say thank you to you for what you guys are doing. It is so, so remarkable, and I want to thank all of you out there who are putting your hands in your pockets and opening your purses,” Mr Plato said.

For more information about My Father’s House, visit their website at or find them on Facebook.

My Father’s House founder Pastor Shaddie Valayadum, right, with mayor Dan Plato, left.
Chairman of the board, Nico Panagio welcoming mayor Dan Plato with volunteers Gasnat Smith, Nikiswe Nocanda, Aphendule Mqwalaselo, Wiedaah Southgate and Shadin Cotton in the background.
From left are, Care Company community programme manager Yusra Davis, Care Company founder and chairman Jonathan Mills, mayor Dan Plato, Care Company community team leader Terence Daniels and My Father’s House founder Pastor Shaddie Valayadum.
Mayor Dan Plato, right, enjoying a coffee with My Father’s House board member, Salaan Cader, left, and Pastor Shaddie Valayadum, standing.