Students have a responsibility towards their studies and the remainder of the other responsibilities tend to come second best. Amongst other imperatives that define a student’s life is food. Lack of food can be a barrier to a student attaining their degree, particularly at this time of the year when some students have run out of credits to buy food in res. This period of the year has been termed Ramadan because it coincidentally comes at the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting.
In 2008, Tiger Brands established a flagship program called Plate4Days, aimed at providing nutrition to university students across the country’s public universities. Universities that benefit from this program include: Nelson Mandela University, University of North-West, University of the Free State, University of Johannesburg, University of the Western-Cape and Witwatersrand University (which has the largest number of beneficiaries with 1138 students). The University of Pretoria has teamed up with the leading food and beverage company through the Student Nutrition and Progress Program to give nutritional support to 500 students for the next year. Initially, UP had a total number of 250 beneficiaries and the program has allowed the university to provide double that number.
Tiger Brands provides a hamper containing popular brands to sustain students for a month. The hamper includes the following food items: Morvite, Ace Quick Super Maize Meal, Tastic Rice, Fattis and Monis Macaroni, KOO Chakalaka, KOO Mixed Vegetables, KOO Baked Beans and Black Cat peanut butter. The aim of the program is not to relieve the financial burden of tuition and books, but help reduce the stress of lacking food for the month. The program is for students, and the name itself was inspired by student challenges and their lingo. Plates refers to the plates of meals that students will get out of the hamper and “4Days” is derived from students’ colloquial language referring to the many days the hamper provides.