A total of 1,420 tonnes of rice donated by Taiwan has begun to arrive in five African countries — South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Mozambique — the nation’s representative office in South Africa announced recently.
The South African branch of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Taiwan’s largest charity organization, has already distributed rice to 3,000 households in Pretoria, with each household getting 20kg, a move that is expected to benefit at least 15,000 people.
Representative to South Africa Michael Hsu (徐佩勇), said he was honored to represent his government in donating the rice to local residents.
Linda Ries, a local volunteer helping with the distribution, said that when she first helped Tzu Chi foundation members to distribute relief goods 14 years ago, South Africans had no knowledge of Taiwan and were actually afraid of Taiwanese.
They dared not accept the relief goods for fear they would be arrested by police and accused of stealing.
She said she was glad to see that the nation’s love has continued unabated, and thanked the people of Taiwan.
George Lebusa, an official of the Zodwa Khoza Foundation, a non-governmental organization, said that he was grateful for Taiwan’s concern for South Africa, adding that 20kg of rice will help a family of five weather a cold winter.