In Memory of Basil Kransdorff

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Source: Ashoka


The global community of Ashoka deeply mourns the loss of Basil Kransdorff  founder of Econocom Foods, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Basil's Innovative approach influenced Ashoka’s Nourishing Schools Program  

Basil Kransdorff’s creation of e’Pap Technologies resulted from a project his wife Rose was doing helping to support people in HIV lines at hospitals in Johannesburg. The HIV pandemic had struck South Africa with full force by the year 2000. There were no drugs available and the only advice for patients was to go home and eat a healthy well balanced diet. It was advice that few poor South Africans could afford. Rose was able to help facilitate a large donation from the Elton John Foundation to set up the support group called CARE (Community Aids Response). Part of this donor support was food parcels and their involvement was to bring some science to the preparation of these foods. 
It was the “miracle stories” that resulted from those first unmarked pre-cooked fortified foods that Basil and Rose distributed in the food parcels and the subsequent requests from patients to purchase them that sparked the Kransdorffs to set up Econocom Foods. As social entrepreneurs, they decided to distribute the product via a “job creation” and community distribution network as a way to empower those living in the community and those with HIV. The business model they created allowed them to make large cash and product donations to those at the forefront of fighting the pandemic. 

Basil Kransdorff ‘s  innovation was to focus on "nutrient repleteness" - ensuring the body's own ability to absorb micronutrients - as the first step in the journey to restoring good health. This innovation, and Basil and Rose's close work with patients with full blown AIDs, helped to restore their appetite and ability to undergo anti-retroviral treatment.   

This innovation helped to focus a growing circle of practitioners on the critical role of bio-available nutrient spectrum in patients with chronic disease who were suffering from malnutrition. The idea spread to other fields, including the critical role that bio-available nutrient spectrum plays in ensuring not just human health,  but bio-diversity in general, extending as far as soil science.  

Basil's insight inspired Ashoka to create a Nourishing Schools toolkit aimed at young people in the 8-14 age range, to inspire them to come up with nourishment solutions for themselves and their communities. The toolkit has been adopted for use in several states of India and is beginning to be introduced in selected locations in Africa.  

Basil had an enormous reservoir of empathy for people suffering from the effects of malnutrition brought on by disease. His empathy extended to all who knew him personally, or indirectly through their own personal recovery from the effects of wasting, or the recovery of family members. With his wife Rose by his side, his reservoir of empathy was not simply deep, it was truly "unfathomable."  

For his contribution to allaying the suffering of his Fellow Africans as well as countless others, for his creative intelligence in finding solutions to people's most fundamental need - the ability to absorb a wide spectrum of nutrients - as the first step in the road back to health, for his courage in the face of doubters and his steadfast unwillingness to compromise his principles, and for his focused attention on the plight of the poorest and most vulnerable, Ashoka and its Fellowship of more than 3000 Fellows offers our most sincere condolences to his wife and partner in this journey, Rose Kransdorff and their family and colleagues.