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dayone 28 Palmerston Road Woodstock 7925 Cape Town South Africa Email ISBN-10 0-620-35451-8 ISBN-13 978-0-620-35451-6 First published 2005, first reprint 2006 Copyright Š Day One

Publisher Day One Original concept Stephan le Roux Photographs Stan Engelbrecht Text & editing Tamsen de Beer Illustrations Ree Treweek Layout & design Abbey Volks Translations Rap Studios, SABC Scanning Orms/Masterprint Retouching Frank Ellis Colour retouching Stan Engelbrecht Reproduction Hirt & Carter Production Toni Venturini (Umzantsi Publishers) Printing Tien Wah Press (Pte) Ltd, Singapore Pictures on pages 72, 104, 123, 184 courtesy of contributors Image on page 107 by Angie Batis All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the Publishers. This includes the reproduction of single pictures or parts of the texts in magazines or newspapers, for public events,


The last time I purposefully read a cookbook was in Standard Six. It was a green soft-cover recipe book compiled by the pupils of Pretoria High School for Girls, and from it I learnt to make sugar biscuits. True, not very exciting, but they were easy enough to make – just like most of the recipes contained in this idiosyncratic compilation of everyday South African cooking. What could be simpler to make than Willie Jacobs’ smoked pork chops or Lucille Tennyson’s Sprite® scones? Not much, I would venture. But here’s the inside track: cooking is just a subterfuge. This isn’t a cookbook, not really. African Salad is something else, or rather, something more. It is also a book of stories; countless stories, anecdotes and bits of narrative found scattered across the vastness of this country, each carefully recorded and compiled here. Take, for instance, the story told by the Hlatswayos. From Soweto, they are authentic pap and steak people. As the

short biographical note accompanying their recipe explains, mom and dad Hlatswayo are also supporters of rival Soweto soccer teams. An incidental fact, it nonetheless influenced the exterior styling of their trim black and white painted home.

old-fashioned wood stove. A staunch proponent of Tswana-style morogo, she tells the reader: “People who eat other things are just trying to be fancy.”

Accompanied by perceptive and unaffected photographs, African Salad is a captivating journey into the heart and home of South Africa – through the front door into the kitchen. After all, it is in the kitchen (and not occasionally the lounge and dining room) that something of our peculiar national character emerges, its straightforward and unpretentious spirit.

Mrs Masimong’s words offer a useful reminder. This book is not about the seduction of the unobtainable, the genteel living and sophisticated cooking flaunted by décor magazines and cookbooks everywhere. African Salad is an unashamed celebration of things simply as they are, without embellishment. Which does not mean this is a book without nuance. After all, if a glass of Coca-Cola® is what Aron April says goes into his potjie, so be it.

I was continually reminded of this fact as I paged through African Salad, meeting for the first time people like Asma and Abdul Soeker, ‘barefoot millionaires’ living in central Cape Town. Also Segogoane Masimong. From Thaba ‘Nchu, Mrs Masimong lives in a gabled 1940s platteland home built by her father, and does her cooking on an

Sean O’ Toole, journalist and editor


Introduction African Salad is a book about the ‘real’ South Africa – not the ‘New’, ‘Old’ or ‘Rainbow’ versions. ‘Real’ South Africans have the kind of eccentric taste and true wackiness that is impossible to dress up and package into an LSM grouping or put on a billboard as a 2-dimensional example of a particular kind of lifestyle. At least, that’s what we discovered in the process of putting together this book. Politicians put a diplomatic spin on our cultural potjiekos by calling it ‘diversity’. Actually it’s better described by the word ‘flavour’. We have the kind of flavour you just won’t find anywhere else on the planet. It’s completely unique. The process of finding ‘real’ South African flavour was quite a complicated one. It started out almost two years ago, the real-life spinoff of a television branding campaign with the payoff line: ‘Feel at Home’. We got to really thinking about what it meant to be at home. It came down to mom cooking your favourite meal for Sunday lunch with the family. Whoever we are in this country, food and family make us happy. (It might not be mom at all, but dad grilling meat on a braai. Or perhaps not Sunday lunch but a Friday night when your auntie’s umqombothi * has just finished brewing.) It is those moments when the family gets together and celebrates its identity, its

togetherness, that give us that warm ‘this is life’ feeling. This book is very much a product of the process of finding ‘real’ South African flavour. In total we knocked on about 120 doors right across the country. We approached certain houses rather than others, because of how they looked – cared for, characterful, eccentric, typical of a period, lived-in. The first one was the 1940s mining house of the Nel family in Standerton. The Nels gave us two recipes: Ouma se heerlike poeding (Grandmother’s delicious pudding) and Lekker slaai (Delicious salad). The final book was edited down to just 60 families’ recipes. And sadly Ouma’s pudding didn’t make the final selection. We selected the final houses on the basis of being as representative and different from each other as possible. If we had shown less of each house or visited fewer houses, then we could have fitted more of them in. The problem was, the more we learned about the ‘real’ South Africa, the more we wanted to know. The more we wanted to know, the longer our visits and more frequent our follow-up calls. Though at first we simply asked South Africans for a recipe and permission to photograph their houses, eventually we came away with hour-long audio files,


telephone transcriptions, photographs of every family member and room in the house. If we had had 1 000 pages, we could have shown you everything. We are very sad about the ones that we left out. (Maybe we will have to make another book.) But for now, we want to share a little bit of what we learned. In small towns, people willingly opened their doors – they even offered tea and biscuits. And they hauled out not only their recipe books, but their photo albums and life stories too. In big cities, it was almost impossible to get anybody to open the door to a stranger – South African flavour right there. Most women were shy about their food and their cooking. They apologized for their dishes, claimed they were no good – and then produced recipe books full of gems. Their husbands felt differently; they either praised their wives’ food or confidently volunteered their own recipes, even if they seldom made them. South Africans are shy. Very few of the people we visited easily agreed to being photographed; it always took a bit of persuasion. But after one or two clicks, people generally became quite comfortable about being the heroes of their own stories. Some people wordlessly disappeared for a few minutes and

returned wearing a new outfit or some lipstick. Many were concerned that their homes were not neat and tidy at the time of our visit. But few were ashamed of who they were and how their homes represented this. Personalities were clearly evident in the spaces that people occupied. We found collections of everything from teaspoons and rocks to plastic flowers. People had inexplicable sentimental attachment to certain items, or displayed a sense of humour in the way they arranged their possessions. Wherever we went, we found real pride – no matter how eccentric. Photographs, letters, diplomas and important documents were stored in files in special places, dusted off and brought out; proof that people had existed and events had taken place. Old people talked enthusiastically about their children and grandchildren. For everybody, regular visits by loved family members were the highlights of their social calendars – and the dishes that would be prepared and fondly remembered at these occasions became central to what was perceived as happy family time. Many families swapped trademark dishes with community members, or salted, jarred and dried special treats for their children,

months in advance of seeing them. Many families took care of other families or community members by preparing food for them. Every family that contributed had a story to tell, and enjoyed the opportunity to tell it. Even those with the saddest stories knew how to laugh. Each recipe had a story too. Not only the story of its origin, but the memory of the many occasions on which the dish had been made, and of the loved ones – both grown up and departed – that had enjoyed them. It was such a privilege for us to venture briefly into these many lives. These photographs of houses and the people who live in them are a document of contemporary South African family life. Their stories have given us a real sense of the flesh-and-blood people lined up behind the facts of our past. Faults, flaws, inaccuracies Let it be known at the outset that many of our contributors have guesstimated, rounded off and generally not been entirely scientific about their ingredient lists or their cooking methods. Given that this is a cookbook, you may be surprised at its couldn’t-care-less approach to specific weights, volumes, numbers of onions and grains of chocolate


sprinkles. But the book is a product of the process by which it was put together. The flaws in human memory and the highly unorthodox cooking methods that many South Africans have devised out of necessity, convenience or simple ingenuity, mean a level of flux has come to play in many of the recipes. To confound matters somewhat, we discovered that contributors often changed not only ingredients themselves, but also quantities and methods, between the time they wrote the recipes down and the time we checked them afterwards. This truly has not been an exact science. Be reassured – we have done our level best. But we must state that we cannot take responsibility for the flops and failures you may experience in your kitchen. You will note that original recipes were provided in every outdated and nonmetric measurement imagineable. We have generally converted these to easy kitchen talk – cups, teaspoons, tablespoons. If there is any lack of clarity, then please consult a measurement conversion chart. Tamsen de Beer *See page 88

“People spoil the food... when you make a lovely meal and people ask for tomato sauce and mustard, and you’ve gone through all the effort to spice it...” Cathy Scheepers, Clocolan

Boerbrood Huipie Engelbrecht, Garies Ouma Huipie Engelbrecht laughs out loud at the thought of being included in an anthology of South African recipes. It breaks the hot silence of late afternoon in Garies, Western Cape. But the only thing on the main road through town is her old blue Cortina – and it doesn’t mind. Ouma Huipie presses her eyes closed for a moment or two, then asks: “Do you already have one for boerbrood?” We don’t. “Well then,” she replies. This particular boerbrood recipe is dictated to us just like Ouma Huipie heard it from her own Ouma. Passed down from one grand old Engelbrecht dame to the next, it relies on nothing more hi-tech than a fat-smeared pan. Its success depends on the mastery of dough in a hot kitchen – and on the fact that you have as much time to enjoy it as you have to make it.

Farmer’s bread Makes 5 loaves

5 baking tins small to medium-sized pot pinch salt pinch sugar 1 potato, finely sliced about 2 handfuls brown flour leaven blanket large basin about 4 litres water about 5kg white bread flour small handful coarse salt

For the yeast, lay the potato slices on the bottom of the pot. Add the salt and sugar. Pour boiling water over the potato until the water level reaches the pot handles. Now add the brown flour to the level of the pot rim. Do not stir. Make three deep holes in the flour with a knife. Cover with the leaven blanket. Leave for 1 day to rise. When the yeast has risen, set aside a jug of water that is hot but not boiling. Place the white flour in the basin with the coarse salt. To this, add some of the potato yeast and a generous splash of water. Knead together. Add more

potato yeast and water and repeat, kneading all the time, until the potato yeast is finished and the dough is no longer sticky. Do not add water too quickly or the dough will be runny. Cover again with the leaven blanket and leave to rise for 2 hours, until the dough fills the basin. Place it in the greased baking tins. Cover again and leave to rise until it fills the tins. Bake at 180° C for 1¼ hours. Chef’s tip: A leaven blanket is a piece of cloth, traditionally made out of baby blankets and cut up for use in baking.


Trifle dessert Sithembile Moyo, Senaoane, Soweto When Zacchariah Cindi paid lobola for Esther Moyo in 1971, the couple moved into this house in Senaoane, Soweto, with Zacchariah’s mother. They had six children. When the youngest – twins – were just two years old, Zacchariah was stabbed in a robbery a few roads away from the house. He never recovered from his wound and died a year later, leaving Esther to raise their children. That was 1983. In 1986, Esther was asked to move out of the house. “It gets complicated when your husband dies. I lived in the house for 15 years, then I was kicked out for ten,” says Esther. On her deathbed in 1998, Esther’s mother-in-law summoned Esther for a meeting and made it clear to the family that after her death, Esther was to return. She died a week later. “When I came back I had to start from nothing. The last time it was painted, was by me,” says Esther. This time she painted it peach. Today, Esther Cindi lives at Number 950 with four children, five grandchildren and her Ndebele niece, Sithembile Moyo. Esther and Sithembile’s mother are Ndebele. But when Esther married Zacchariah, she and their children took on his Swazi culture and identity. Sithembile writes down the trifle recipe. It is such a favourite dish that people lament missing birthday parties just because they know they missed out on the trifle. “They ask: did you make that nice thing? Oh gosh, it’s so nice,” says Esther.

Trifle dessert 1 pkt Tennis biscuits 1 tin peaches, sliced 1 tin guavas, sliced 1 tin dessert cream Red & green jellies (set and chilled) ice cream

Crush biscuits into a dessert bowl. Layer the peaches, guavas, dessert cream and chilled jellies and ice cream 2 or 3 times. Chill the dessert, then serve.


Supper for hungry kids Lynn Lester, Graskop Avalon and Eden play with a hosepipe on their own small piece of Paradise in Graskop off Mpumalanga’s scenic R533. “I used to be five and now I’m six,” confesses Avalon. She loves tattoos and pretends with a stick-on. Her mum Lynn is a kindergarten teacher in Graskop. They have lived in this house for 12 years. It’s Lynn’s first home – and she’s going to hang on to it. “Maybe forever,” she says. Lynn moved house every two years when she was growing up. She vowed that when she had kids she would buy a place and plant a tree for herself and each family member. When they died they would be buried underneath those trees. Lynn made up this veggie meal. It is her way of getting good food down the throats of children exposed to junk food at the supermarket till. “It’s nothing out of Condé Nast or anything but it’s what we usually have,” she says.

Supper for hungry kids 2 Tbsp flour 1 bay leaf 1 onion, chopped 2 cups milk whole nutmeg, grated 1 Tbsp butter salt and pepper to taste potatoes (1 per person) handful per person of: broccoli, asparagus & French beans 1 cup cheese spring onions & parsley to garnish butter course salt

First make a white sauce. Fry onion and bay leaf in a saucepan with butter. Add the flour and let it burn a bit. Add milk. Grate nutmeg into the sauce to taste. Stir continuously with a whisk. When it boils, remove from heat. Season to taste. Prick the potatoes. Rub with butter and coarse

salt. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Steam the broccoli, asparagus and French beans. Cut a cross in the potatoes and squash them together in a dish. Add the vegetables and pour the sauce over the top. Grate cheese over it and garnish with spring onions and parsley. 16

Quick dinner Malene Laubscher, Rustenburg Malene Laubscher and André Lourens are cleaning the fountain in their garden. They live on a busy road. The sound of running water is a nice distraction from traffic noise. On weekends, André gets on a motorbike and drives out to Hartebeespoort Dam. “That is my hobby,” he says. It is an old bike that he fixed up himself – “I do everything myself, man.” Malene calls him bokkie. He worked for 32 years as an engineering foreman at Impala Platinum Mine and took early retirement six years ago. He was 48. Now he runs a cash loan business from the house. Malene finishes writing down her quick dinner pilchards recipe (they eat it at least once a week), and adds a last thought: “Even if you and I can only speak one or two of our 11 languages, at least we can smile in all 11.” Malene and André were each previously married for 25 years, and then divorced (“we are one of the statistics”). They met when Malene made a loan repayment on behalf of a friend about six years ago (“it was coincidence”). For the past four years, they have driven the 135 kilometres between Rustenburg and Zeerust to see each other. Finally André said: “move in with me.” That was three months ago. Malene has her own house in Rustenburg but rents it out to the mines. The fountain, the lizard and the butterflies on the walls are Malene’s decorations. “When I came here, there was nothing.” Quick dinner 1 can pilchards in tomato sauce 1 onion, finely chopped 1 large potato, grated 2 eggs 2 Tbsp flour 1 Tbsp vinegar 1 Tbsp butter or margarine 1 cup milk 1 tsp mustard powder 2 tsp curry powder

Mix all the ingredients except eggs together. Whisk the eggs and stir in. Place in a baking tray. Bake for 1 hour in a medium oven. Serve warm.


Fish recipe Elizabeth Talmakkies, St Helena Bay In the afternoons, Elizabeth Talmakkies sits in the sun on an old garden chair. “The sun shines nicely there.” It is her winter spot. But right now it is summer; the windy season, when Elizabeth worries each blustery day if the old building will hold together. She and her four children have rented this fisherman’s cottage on the main road through Steenberg’s Cove for eight years. The cottages have been standing here as long as anybody can remember – “surely 100 years,” says a neighbour. They are part historical monument, part family home; the property of the local fishery companies or privately owned by the descendants of long-retired fishermen. They say fishermen always return to the sea. The salt water is in their blood, they say. St Helena Bay produces over half of South Africa’s fish each year. Small wonder that Elizabeth and her fishing family (six brothers, five sisters) have lived their whole lives on this hook of the West Coast that juts into the Atlantic Ocean. The furthest inland she ever went is the farm in Vredenburg where she was born. It is less than 20 kilometres from salt water to north, south or west. Elizabeth has kept her father’s name of Talmakkies. (What does the name mean? “I don’t know, I got it like that.”) Neither will she be pressed on why she did not take the last name of her late husband and the father of her children. Instead, she lists the meals you can make with a can of pilchards. This is one of them.

Fish recipe Serves 6-8 1 tin of pilchards in tomato 2 eggs ½ onion, chopped 1 tsp parsley ½ tsp salt 2 slices brown bread 250 ml oil

Mix all the ingredients together. Make round fishcake shapes with your hand. Deep-fry them in hot oil on both sides until brown. 26

Mrs Hicks’ Christmas cake Susan Hendrikz, Parys Mrs Hendrikz lives in a house that she chose because of its name: Die Nessie (The Little Nest). The house has lived up to the name. Not only for the variety of bird species in the garden, but for the number of people she has taken in and looked after over the years. Mrs Hendrikz started a recipe book with her mother-in-law 20 years ago. It’s crammed so full of favourites that she can’t decide which to give us. “I’ve got recipes for Africa. After all, I did raise three boys here,” she says. As she pages through the book, memories of those times and those boys come back to Mrs Hendrikz. We’re all set to leave with her fishcake recipe. (The boys used to go fishing on the Vaal River that runs through town; the carp they caught was dinner.) But the delicate yellowed page and handwritten scrawl of another recipe is irresistible. Finally we head off down ‘piesangdraai’ (banana bend) – the road so-named after a truck lost its load of bananas – with a recipe for Mrs Hicks’ Xmas Cake. The real Mrs Hicks gave it to Mrs Hendrikz’ mother-in-law 70 years ago. It still gets baked every year when her nestlings come home for a Christmas visit.


Mrs Hicks’ Christmas cake 3 eggs 1½ cups flour 1 cup each sugar, butter, raisins, currants & sultanas ½ tsp each ginger, allspice, grated nutmeg, cinnamon & ground cloves 2 Tbsp each syrup & brandy 2 Tbsp mixed peel 4 Tbsp chopped cherries or dates 4 Tbsp chopped almonds ½ Tbsp bicarbonate of soda 1 Tbsp caramel or treacle


Cream together butter and half the flour. Beat eggs and sugar well. Add half to butter mixture. Blend well. Add spices to the remaining flour. Gradually mix this in, alternating it with the remaining egg mixture. Add caramel or treacle and dried fruit. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in a little water. Add to mixture with brandy and syrup. Place mixture into baking tin. Bake at 180˚C for 20 minutes. Chef’s tip: stick a knitting needle into the cake to test. If no mixture sticks to the needle then the cake is ready. Store in a cake tin lined with 3 sheets brown paper.

Boswa, motšhatšha and mašotšha Stiff porridge, wild spinach and mopani worms

Sheila Kgoale, Botlokwa Arnold Mupita believes that seeing a lion will make him strong. He explains this and other life philosophies from a patch of green lawn next to a brand-new RDP house in Botlokwa on the N1 to Potgietersrus. But maybe Arnold just needs to go inside and eat something. After all, Sheila Kgoale and Alice Kgomommu (who live here) have made good food their business. Sheila is the proud founder of a catering company: Muvoyo Business Enterprises. When she cooks for over 100 people she gets her neighbours to pitch in and help. Sheila’s contribution is a trio of traditional Northern Sotho recipes as prepared by her parents and their parents before them. In the old days when food was scarce in the villages, mašotšha (mopani worms) would be counted and dished out to villagers to use in a soup. But once the soup was ready, they would be obliged to return the worms to the chief and his family, and eat only the broth in which they were cooked. “The grandfathers had an expression. They used to say that something is fine so long as there is salt. Even if there is only a little bit of something, that is fine so long as there is salt,” explains Sheila. Which is how mokhweso came about – tiny, rolled-up balls of leftover, dried motšhatšha (wild spinach) re-cooked, re-salted and eaten with porridge. “That tastes very good,” says Sheila.


Stiff porridge, wild spinach and mopani worms Serves 10

21-litre saucepan 5 litres water 5 kg mealie-meal

Optional: 2 tomatoes and 1 handful spinach flowers

Wild spinach Bring the water to the boil in the saucepan, then add the wild spinach and salt. (Also add the tomatoes and wild spinach flowers if you are using these). Cook for 5 minutes and remove from water to retain flavour. Chef’s tip: never use one plate as this shows a lack of respect. Always place the porridge on its own plate, and the wild spinach or mopani worms in a separate bowl. Serve with the plate placed on top of the bowl and a cloth on the plate. It is out of order to provide a spoon or fork. Instead, provide a small basin of warm water and a cloth for your guest to wash his hands before and after the meal.

2 kg dried mopani worms 5-litre saucepan 1 Tbsp salt 5 cups water

Mopani worms Bring the water to the boil in the saucepan, then add the mopani worms and salt. Boil for 5-10 minutes. Serve as a soup or remove the worms from the water and serve them on their own. Chef’s tip: dried, salt-cured mopani worms cost R5 per 1-cup measure. They come from Botswana and can be bought from hawkers in most parts of Northerm Province.

2-litre saucepan 1½-2 cups water 4 handfuls wild spinach 1 tsp salt


Stiff porridge Bring the water to the boil in the saucepan, then add half the mealie-meal. Stir out the lumps, cover and leave to thicken. After 10-15 minutes, add the remaining mealie-meal. Stir out the lumps and leave it to cook for a further 15 minutes, covered. When you lift the lid it will be ready. Stir the small residue of water on top into the porridge.

Sotho pumpkin moroho Sotho pumpkin with leaves

Miriam Moeletsane, near Senekal On the R707 to Senekal, a string of farm labourers’ cottages sits low under a flattopped mountain. Children storm the dirt track that leads to the Moeletsanes. Inside, the TV blares, baby Edward bangs and shrieks, and Miriam and Catherina put an elephant into a bucket – or so transcribing a recipe for this traditional Sesotho pumpkin moroho must seem. After all, it’s as much a part of everyday life as the mountain that frames their view just so. It can’t be too far off describing to somebody how you wash your face in the mornings. Which is why the ladies chuckle from start to finish, imagining what their neighbours would say if they could see them sitting with their heads together like this trawling up a list about what is second nature to them.


Sotho pumpkin with leaves 2 handfuls pumpkin leaves 2 baby pumpkins ½ tsp salt 2 cups water 2 cups fresh milk 5 Tbsp fat or oil 1 small onion 1 tsp curry powder


Remove the pumpkin plant leaves and wash them. Peel and chop the baby pumpkins and put them with the leaves in a pot on the stove. Add the water and bring to the boil. Cook until the water dries up.Then add the milk, salt and fat or oil. Peel and chop the onion and add it to the pot with a teaspoon of curry powder. When the vegetables are all soft, the dish is ready. Serve it with a soft, hot pap.

New Year’s koeksisters Marie du Toit, Griekwastad ‘So Maak Mens’ was a radio show on the old Springbok Radio. It was co-hosted by Esmé Euvrard; homemaker extraordinaire. This recipe for New Year’s koeksisters is a transcript of one of the shows – down to Esmé’s upbeat conclusion: “Well ladies, this is how Mrs Griesel has made koeksisters for 30 years already. Good luck!” Has Mrs Griesel of then-Pretoria delivered on her promise of shiny koeksisters? She certainly has as far as Mrs Du Toit of Griekwastad is concerned. Mrs Du Toit has been making Mrs Griesel’s koeksisters for 30 years herself – ever since she ordered this transcript from Springbok Radio in 1976. Mrs Du Toit bakes koeksisters a lot. She bakes them and freezes them. After all, what would she and Mr Du Toit do with eight-dozen fresh koeksisters? During the day, Mrs Du Toit works at the Griekwastad general dealership. She knows everything going on in town. At 6.30pm every evening she watches 7de Laan on television. Nothing can distract her. In fact, when we make the mistake of visiting during 7de Laan, Mrs Du Toit waits for an ad break before giving us the recipe. Then, she walks down to the general dealership to make a photocopy, presses it into our waiting palms – and gets right back to the show.


New Year’s koeksisters


10 cups sugar 5 cups water ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp tartaric acid 6-8 pieces root ginger

Syrup Heat the sugar and water together on the stove. When it starts boiling, turn off the plate and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes until the plate cools down. (It should have the same consistency as castor oil.) Add salt, tartaric acid, and ginger. Stir thoroughly and let it cool down. (The ginger can be re-used.)

4 generous cups flour 5 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt 2 eggs 1 Tbsp cooking oil 1 glass cold water

Dough Sieve together the dry ingredients. Beat together the eggs, cooking oil and water. Beat swiftly to create a foam. Add the liquid to the flour mixture and mix vigorously. (If the mixture is not firm enough, add a bit more flour and baking powder. If it is too stiff, add some water.) The dough should be slightly sticky to the touch. Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover. Leave for at least 3 hours (this is very important).

Method Before you start to roll out the dough, make sure all your ingredients and utensils are ready: • the oil must be in the pot; • the cold syrup must stand ready next to the oil; • you need a ladle for turning the koeksister over in the oil; • a ladle for dipping the koeksister into the cold syrup; • a wire rack or sieve covering a deep bowl; • a container to store the koeksisters in the fridge.

1 pot (ideally cast iron) 2 ladles a wire rack or sieve a deep bowl a plastic fridge container

Then start to roll out the dough in its entirety. (Do not roll out, fold and roll again.) The dough must be handled and plaited delicately. Cut every koeksister in 2 or 3 strips and give it only one turn or plait. Press the ends firmly and cover with a damp cloth. Fry the koeksisters in the hot oil until they start to brown. Lift them out of the oil and immediately dip them into the cold syrup. Hold them under for a short while to ensure the syrup absorbs into the koeksisters. Place the koeksisters on the wire rack or sieve. When all the syrup has dripped off, place them in a closed container in the fridge, and the next day in the freezer. The koeksisters should be served directly from the freezer and should not be transported over long distances. Mrs Griesel’s tips: • thick, cold syrup is the secret to shiny koeksisters; • the oil must be very hot; • the dough must be handled and plaited delicately; • success with koeksisters depends on practice! • Firm dough and plaiting that is too tight mean koeksisters will lose their shine.


Umphokoqo Mealie-meal porridge

Malusi Mafutha, Khayelitsha, Cape Town Malusi Mafutha introduces himself as Shepherd. He was born in Queenstown 42 years ago – “I am a stranger in Cape Town.” Malusi built this house of wooden planks when he moved from the country to the city in 1995. He likes it here, but the country is still in him. He satisfies his longing by cultivating a patch of lawn. Malusi and his girlfriend, Nosipho, share the house with 17-year-old Siyabonga. He is Malusi’s nephew. Malusi sells posters like the Eminem poster he gave to Siyabonga and the 50 Cent poster on the lounge wall next to his team colours: Sundowns FC. Malusi also sells bread, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and bandana scarves. He has not found it easy in the city. “I will never give up – because I am a man.” His hope lies in his four children. They are not from Queenstown he says, by way of explanation. The bed that Malusi and Nosipho share is strewn with heart-shaped cushions and cuddly teddy bears. Outside, they scatter bottles filled with tap water to stop dogs from using the lawn as a toilet. Every little thing has its purpose and its place.


Mealie-meal porridge 2 cups water 1 tsp salt 2 cups mealie-meal 1 litre maas (sour milk)


Boil the water. Add the salt. Add the mealiemeal. Keep stirring for 15-20 minutes until it is ready. Serve it with maas.

Morogo Wild spinach

Sara Skhosana, near Warden The Skhosana, Moloi, Mahlaba, Takile and Motaung families are all represented today at the Skhosana homestead. Some live here. Others live nearby and spend the day here as caregivers – or their charges. It is Johanna’s job to take care of the children. She smokes her cigarette like a New York debutante or a cattle rustler – couldn’t-care-less. “We are old. We don’t want to know what the young ones cook.” Puff. “I think I have forgotten everything I used to cook. Ai-ai-ai.” Puff. The “young ones” are in charge of the kitchen. Fourteen-year-old Sara Skhosana writes down a recipe. She starts: “I know how to cook morogo …” Her mother, Josina Skhosana, bought the stove in 1970 in the nearby town of Reitz. There is empty space on the map between Reitz and Warden, the nearest town from here. The driving experience is not dissimilar – vast tracts of farmland populated by scrub, crops, cattle and little else. “We came from the corner farm near Osmond.” Josina lacks another landmark. She uses English and Afrikaans and confers with Johanna in Zulu: “… you know how people are … there was a bit of trouble.” Whatever it was, the ladies are not telling. They have built everything you see in a year and a half.


Wild spinach 1 bunch morogo (wild spinach) 2 potatoes 1 onion 1 Tbsp margarine 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper


Cook the morogo, onions and potatoes together in a little water until soft. Add the margarine, salt and pepper for flavour.

Stampmielies and mixed vegetables Crushed mealies and mixed vegetables

Thandeka Nkewana, Grahamstown Thandeka is refreshingly upbeat for a woman whose life has been about personal sacrifice. In 1997 she left her family home in Paterson to look after her ailing Auntie Jane here in Grahamstown. It’s not especially unsafe, but Thandeka is so concerned about her aunt’s safety that she has installed burglar bars and only leaves the house to buy groceries if a neighbour stands guard. “You can’t trust anybody these days.” Thandeka’s stampmielies and vegetables recipe makes too much food for her and Auntie Jane. But Thandeka feeds the neighbours too – an old woman and a mentally handicapped boy abandoned to their fate after the household breadwinner was admitted to hospital with Aids-related illness. “I can’t stand to see somebody suffering. If I have eight slices of bread, I will give away four,” she says. Thandeka has had to give away more than that. In 1985 she and her then-boyfriend – an Italian on contract in South Africa – had a daughter. Shortly after his untimely death in a car accident in 1992, his family came from Italy to petition Thandeka. They were successful. Raised by a Xhosa mother in the rural Eastern Cape, Neliswa, then nine years old, became Mariella and moved to Italy. She’s been there ever since. “I cried 2000 tears. But I thought: this child must get a future,” says Thandeka.


Crushed mealies and mixed vegetables

2 cups crushed mealies 8 cups water 2 Tbsp oil 1 tsp salt

Crushed mealies Rinse the crushed mealies before cooking. Boil water in a large pot, add mealies, oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Leave to boil for 45 minutes until soft. Turn down to low and allow to simmer for another 1¼ hours. When the mealies are cooked add another ½ teaspoon salt. If the water boils away during this process add another 2 cups.

5 carrots 2 potatoes ¼ cabbage ½ bunch spinach 1 onion 1 green pepper 2 Tbsp oil

Vegetables Chop the carrots, potatoes, cabbage and spinach. Boil them together in one pot until tender but not too soft. Chop the onion and green pepper. Fry onion in oil until golden brown. Add the green pepper, cabbage, spinach, potatoes and carrots one by one, frying each for a few minutes before adding the next. Serve together with the crushed mealies.

Serves 6-8


Relax Makwedini Johannes (Mzion) Mofokeng, Sebokeng Johannes goes by the name Mzion. It is his soccer name, derived from his roots in the Zionist church. Soccer is Mzion’s life. He is the Number One Orlando Pirates Supporter. This is not a description of how much he loves the team; it is a hard-earned title. As Number One, it is his job to attend each and every Pirates game at his own cost and to maintain a highly visible and vocal presence dressed in outlandish team regalia. It is also his job to make supporters understand their roles and rights. He must teach sportsmanly conduct, correct behaviour at games, proper team dress as well as organise social gatherings. “I live, sleep, dream, eat Orlando Pirates.” Mzion has done so since he first had the money to apply for a supporters’ card at the age of 18. Orlando Pirates has cost him his wife, a normal working life, and every spare cent he earns. “I am like a person who drinks every day …” As a boy growing up in Meyerton, Mzion watched the preparation of skop (sheep’s head) by his Sotho elders. It was a dish prepared only for special occasions and only for adults. Years later, Mzion added vegetables to the meat and gave his new version a name: ‘Relax Makwedini (boys)’. “You will never see those eyes, it will only be meat,” Mzion promises. Despite his assurances, skop is not for the faint-hearted. Mzion advises eating it with achar.



Relax Makwedini

1 sheep’s head salt to taste 4 Tbsp margarine 1 onion, sliced 2 avocados, sliced 2 tomatoes, diced 1 green pepper, sliced 1 carrot, grated Aromat barbeque spice 1 Tbsp margarine 1 pkt brown onion soup

Use a pair of scissors to cut off most of the hair and a flame torch to burn off the rest. Scrub using scrubbing wire and Sunlight soap. Thoroughly clean and rinse the mouth, ears and tongue with water direct from the tap. Clean out the dirt in the ears. Use a razor blade to shave the head. Put the head into a large pot. Cover with cold water and add salt to taste. Leave to boil until the meat is soft and tender. Cut everything (including tongue, brain, ears and eyeballs) into 2-3cm pieces. (Traditional skobho is at this stage ready to eat, served warm or cold with hot porridge or bread.) Preheat the oven to 260˚C. Melt margarine in a roasting tray. Add onion, potatoes and green pepper. Grill in oven for 20 minutes. Add pieces of meat to the roasting tray. Grill for 15 minutes until the meat is tender and brownish in colour. Add brown onion soup, flavour with Aromat and barbeque spice and allow to simmer for 6 minutes. Slice the avocado over the top and serve with bread or soft porridge. Chef’s tip: use every part of the head except the sinew. Eyes and ears are optional.


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