Meet the woman slamming the door on hunger


A rustling sound brought Fezeka Mjemla to a halt, her train of thought stopping with her feet. Scanning the area for its source, she realised that a dustbin was having its contents inspected. The rummager? A child, the same age as Mjemla’s daughter. Moved to tears, she offered the comfort of food and a warm room.

Mjemla was changed by the experience, filled with conviction to feed the hungry – a force that has driven her life ever since. She had minimal resources, but that didn’t stop her. Mjemla was emboldened by righteous indignation at the suffering of those around her. Addressing an immediate need in her community, she opened a feeding and clothing distribution scheme from her home. Today she has been serving East London for 14 years.

“People have not stopped knocking on my door, and I have never turned anybody away,” says Mjemla. Fuelled by the desire to see her community prosper, she has gained support for her project by approaching local businesses, whose positive responses show that she’s not the only resident invested in generating change in the town. Each slice of bread and every warm jersey placed in the hands of a neighbour fills Mjemla with joy. By paying it forward she is spreading hope among her people.