Heritage Month South Africa 2018

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Inge in Upington

Picture this. Growing up in South Africa in the traditions of a culture steeped in outdoor activities such as tree climbing and swimming in muddy farm dams in golden sunshine coupled with local, authentic South African food products. Regular weekend braais with sizzling boerewors and lamb chops over perfect coals, Ouma rusks dunked in coffee topped with condensed milk, nostalgic train rides to St James beach seated on my grandmother’s lap clutching a basket filled with curry mince vetkoek, meatballs, boiled eggs and chicken mayonnaise sandwiches waiting to be devoured between swims in the ice-cold water of St James’s tidal pool.

However, reflections on my idyllic childhood are brought to an abrupt halt as I contemplate the final process of relocating to the fast-paced cosmopolitan city of London. My mind races ahead of me as I ponder the thought of perhaps losing all recollection of a youth spent in the warm African sun enjoying traditional South African meals shaped around my deep Afrikaans roots. Does London have the ingredients I need to make my favourite South African meals? Can I buy Rooikrans or Kameedoring hout to get the braai fire going? Can I buy South African Championship boerewors or shop for Gorima’s range of Indian spices to make my favourite curry?

Growing up as an English speaking “boeremeisie” against the backdrop of the iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town then years later moving 1635 kilometers up the east coast of South Africa to the magnificent sub-tropical climate of Kwa-Zulu Natal, it is hard to imagine life outside of this gloriously free country. In the beautiful city of Durban which I’ve called home for the past 7 years, life-long friendships have been formed cross-culturally with people I now regard as family together with the rich diverse food culture of which I’ve grown accustomed to are some of the things I ponder as I consider a cheap flight to London.

September in South Africa is a celebratory month as it marks the start of Spring season which means Summer is on its way. This festive season also symbolizes Tourism month as well as Heritage month. During this time South Africans from all the different cultures get to celebrate their traditions and legacies with the pinnacle of the festivities taking place on the 24th September, a day set aside as a public holiday scheduled with a multitude of celebratory activities. The essence of my childhood has taken root from occasions such as these coupled with eating copious amounts of milktart, bobotie, koeksisters, malva pudding, biltong and tamatiebredie. These are some of the authentic South African foods I’ve grown up with and which shaped me into the person I am today.


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