Zimbabwe: Firms Embrace First Lady's Cook-Out

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa's Cook-out Traditional Meal competition tailored to unlock the high nutritional value in traditional foods has attracted the interest of companies.

The First Lady, through her Angel of Hope Foundation, introduced the competition to ensure people embraced traditional dishes and learned how best to prepare them.

According to experts, traditional dishes are rich in nutrients and readily available in communities which makes them easily accessible.

Amai's Cook-out Traditional Meal competition, which was recently launched in Mashonaland West Province, will spread to all provinces before national finals in Harare with the First Lady encouraging incorporation of traditional foods into modern lifestyles.

Amai Mnangagwa is the country's health ambassador and works hard to promote healthy eating.

Surface Wilmar yesterday weighed in with a consignment of Buttercup margarine, cooking oil, baked beans, bath soap, laundry soap, pots and dishes, gas stoves and gas cylinders for use in the competitions.

In handing over the goods, Surface Wilmar chief executive Mr Sylvester Mangani said Surface Wilmar and Olivine were excited to work with the mother of the nation in her programme.

"I am here representing Surface Wilmar and Olivine. These are well known companies from the products that they produce, Pure Drop and Olivine cooking oil. We also do Jade soap, Buttercup margarine, perfection soap, big ben soap. These are all household products for which the companies are known.

"We are excited to be working with the Angel of Hope Foundation because this also gives us an opportunity to engage with our community and to give back as part of our corporate social responsibility programme.

"The whole environment had been negative because of Covid-19, so at least this positive programme by the First Lady gives us excitement. Amai's traditional cooking competition is a noble initiative and we are thrilled to be part of it," he said.

Mr Mangani gave a thumbs-up to the programme saying Zimbabwe has rich traditional dishes that should be embraced.

"Traditional cooking is the way to go. If you look at our society today, the type of sicknesses that we are now getting - diabetes, various cancers, heart disease - these are mostly caused by the types of food we eat. We should watch what we eat and eat healthy foods. I think going back to traditional cooking is really the solution to most of these ailments," he said.

He said Amai's traditional cooking competition was much more than who comes out tops, but it was about promoting the health of the people and the nation.

He added that it was sad that the country was tapping into junk foods yet it had its own healthy traditional foods which had high nutritional value.

Mr Mangani said traditional cooking gave the country an identity and good health.

In receiving the donation, the First Lady who was represented by Angel of Hope Foundation chairperson Mrs Molly Dingani, said she initiated the programme following the realisation that the consumption of indigenous foods had dwindled as people were opting for processed foods with empty calories.

"This has caused many of us to be exposed to conditions such as the clogging of toxins in the body, obesity, diabetes, cardiac ailments, liver and kidney complications, to mention but a few. This is not the first time that Surface Wilmar has supported us.

"You have continuously responded to shore up Angel of Hope Foundation with the basic commodity of cooking oil which has enabled us to assist the underprivileged and the marginalised in society. Today, Surface Wilmar has donated groceries for us to formulate hampers for Amai's Cookout traditional meal competition and gas stoves for us to use when travelling across the provinces of Zimbabwe so that the contestants all have access to culinary utilities," she said.

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