The country cries

A mere few days after Oscar Pistorious is sent to prison for actions which included a firearm South Africans are reeling at another sport star in the news because of gun violence. Unfortunately, this time, the violence was fatally directed at him.

Bafana Bafana Captain, Senzo Meyiwa, has become another victim of the senseless violence we have in this country. People across South Africa, and even internationally, are saddened by this tragedy. A young talent and leader taken in his prime.

Everyone is sad, and everyone is on it. I agree that we should be and this has shaken me more than I would imagine. I think my reaction is two fold 1) A know South African son has been taken. As I’ve said before, famous South Africans “belong” to us and we take pride in their achievements. It’s horrible that an icon has been brought down and we will certainly mourn his passing. 2) A massive reward is being offered and the countries top detective will investigate. Which is fair enough, but I can’t help but be torn apart on behalf of all other “anonymous” South Africans who have also suffered to violence and murder this weekend and weekends and weekdays previous, and who will not get this type of backing and attention.

While Senzo’s death has brought a lot of attention to crime and violence I only hope that this man hunt will propel forward the bigger debates and bigger long terms actions against the core issues: Availability of illegal weapons, crimes against women, the desperation of the youth, unemployment, the hate that festers in some hearts. A hate we can not seem to manage and abate. People do not just want to rob out of desperation (something which I can actually sympathise with BTW) but they also want to kill. My stuff I can replace but I can not replace my friends and family. Leave our lives intact please.

At a press conference at the South African Football Association there was mention of a Senzo Meyiwa law which will help address these questions. I just hope this tragedy will have the follow through required to eventually lead to a positive difference

In the meantime, South Africans are just going to have to be sad and lock ourselves into our homes even more tightly. Sigh.

And the song remains the same

We had post Heritage Day celebrations in our office today. Our HR department arranged for some traditional food for everyone to enjoy. It was a nice selection of what one could call South African food. Bobotie, Pap, Tripe and samp were some of the delights.

As an added extra we were treated to a traditional dance display by a “professional” troupe. Three young men and five even younger girls dressed in traditional wear danced and whistled to give us a taste of Venda heritage. The dances are interesting and the dancers clearly fit and coordinated. Despite seeing similar things a lot previously I enjoyed seeing these young people do their thing.

What struck me though was the entire scenario: Us, working in corporate Johannesburg, in a very affluent area, watching these performers in traditional dress dancing in the traditional way in our offices. It’s a loud and clearly visceral affair. The troupe were dressed in animal skins and accompanied by a drum and the dancing involves a lot of foot stamping and clapping of hands and ululating. It’s great but not what you would associate with the modern world. And yet, there they were. Amongst us professionals, in our expensive traditional ware (because we had to dress up for lunch) in the richest mile in Africa.

And so South Africa’s Heritage Day manifested itself and I know that my lamenting about us “only” being South African is something I will not live to see. Tradition and culture and heritage are impossibly important and what ultimately makes us a rainbow nation.

Help uphold the ban on dog racing in South Africa

The South African Government have tabled a proposal in the Government Gazette to reintroduce Dog Racing (GOVERNMENT GAZETTE (23 MAY 2014) NO 37653: DRAFT NATIONAL GAMBLING NORMS AND STANDARDS – GREYHOUND RACING). 

Standing against this is a no brainer. The animals are treated horrendously and a lot of them die or are “exposed of” before they even reach the race course. Please make your voice heard and write to Dear Mr Nkoatse Ernest Mashamaite (Fax number: 012 394 2054 E-mail: NEMashamaite@thedti.gov.za) making your objections clear. 

Dog racing has been illegal since 1949 and this should be upheld.

For more info visit

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/mr-nkoatse-ernest-mashamaite-department-of-trade-and-industry-uphold-the-ban-on-dog-racing-in-south-Africa 

. You can even make your objection on-line by simply filling in the petition form. Please react as soon as possible as the deadline for public feedback is looming.

SA Grub – Bunny Chow

As it gets colder and colder all I can think about is curry. An Indian curry with big chunks of meat and either a reddish or yellowish creamy sauce. I want the aromatic flavours to warm me up and make me happy from the inside. Food can do that.

Indian food is very popular in South Africa so you can get it about anywhere. You can choose any curry your heart desires and it will be served up in mild, hot or very hot. Delicious. But now, let me tell you about a truly South African invention involving curry: The Bunny Chow.

Why this parcel of meaty goodness is called a Bunny Chow is a bit of a mystery but I’m happy to say  it’s got nothing to do with bunnies. It would appear as if the word Bunny could be derived from the Hindu word for vendor/merchant banyā and chow means food. But, yeah, that’s all I’ve got to offer on the subject.

What’s important is what a Bunny Chow consists of: A half loaf of bread filled with a Durban curry cooked with either meat or beans. It’s your food and your bowl all in one. It’s steamy and aromatic, delicious and easy to take-away with you. It’s surmised that the use of the bread as a ‘bowl’ came from the need for workers to house their curry in an easy to carry and cheap way. It also helps that the bread fills any stomach gaps.

I specified a Durban curry because that is where the dish originated from. However, do note that a Durban curry is something all on its own as well. The Indian people in Durban like their food hotter than hot. A true Durban curry will blow your socks off and have even put Indians from Indian to shame. I don’t know where this trend originated from either but when you order a Bunny (as they’re commonly referred to) in Durban as for mild. It’s a little less authentic but at least you won’t be grabbing for the nearest beaker of milk halfway through your first bite.

Each Indian family has their own secret recipes for their various curries and no one makes better curry than your own mom so there are variations to a good Bunny Chow but as I’m sure you’re keen to make one try the following link:

http://www.picknpay.co.za/recipe-search-results/authentic-bunny-chow

Enjoy the steaming goodness.

 

Bunny Chow goodness from the Easter Food Bazaar in Cape Town
Bunny Chow goodness

bunny chow 2

Vote Home SA`

It’s no secret that I’m a Big mush ball when it comes to things that make me a Proud South African. So, It was with tears in my eyes that I read about South African’s voting abroad today.

I would some pics on News24 ( http://www.news24.com/Elections/News/Voting-open-for-South-Africans-in-Europe-20140430 ) and as I saw the queues and the smiling faces I teared up and am still snivelling.

I would like to thank every South African voting abroad for proving that this country means something to you. No matter where you are and why you’re there I am touched by the fact that you will take time out of your day (in most cases a work day) to say what you want for your home. I am deeply touched by this and the country thanks you.

There are so many negative people out there when it comes to SA but when you vote you prove what I know about real South Africans. People who I feel truly embody what being South African is about. The characteristics which I know MOST South Africans feature. Real South Africans are generous, kind and care about each other. Screw the politicians and the criminals who mess with that image and screw the media for making the world believe that’s all we have to offer

So, give all voting South African’s abroad a Bells. I truly love you all.

Nek nominating the South African way is much cooler

If like me, you don’t really know what a “nek nomination” is I refer you to this definition by Urban Dictionary

“An internet/social media trend where one is nominated by a friend to post a video of them drinking large amounts of alcohol usually in a funny, creative, or absurd way. This normally involves the chugging of multiple beers, 26ers, or mickeys. The nominee must complete a challenge within 24 hours of being nominated. Once the challenge is complete the person then nominates three other friends to each complete their own version of a nek nomination video, post it online, challenge three more friends, and the cycle continues.”

Yeah, definitely not something I considerable fun or admirable. What a waste of good drink and you’re probably slaughtered afterwards. Not cool. Not fun.

Perhaps Brent Lindeque from South Africa was thinking the same thing when he decided to do something different and good with his nomination. He filmed himself giving a homeless person some food and then nominated two other people to do the same (well, give to the less fortunate in any case). He has taken something rather ridiculous and turned it into something positive.

Brent could have lived in any country in the world but he lives in South Africa where he brings attention to a serious problem and prompts people to think about it an act about it. His YouTube video of his revised nek nomination has over 100 000 views so I think he’s making a difference. He makes me proud to be South African. We like to party but we’re also generous and like to help those around us. He is leading SA

I know the nominations have taken effect with several charities posting on Facebook that they have received donations from people taking part in nek nominations. May the trend long continue. There are a lot of people yet to be nominated.  

 

 

South African grub – sheer lack of availability.

One of the biggest frustrations to visitors to our fair land is that there are very few restaurants that serve true local fare. My favourite in JHB, Gramadoelas, closed last year, at it has left a painful gap in the food & wine industry. I must say, considering how generous South African’s are when it comes to food, I am very surprised more places don’t serve the kind of fare you long for from your granny’s kitchen. It’s weird.

If I had a financial backer I would quite my job TODAY and open a truly South African restaurant. With great food, great local brew and wine and a true warmth which makes it feel like home. I know exactly how to do it. I come from a hospitality family so I know what I’m up against. I just need the money. Hint, hint, nudge nudge any wealthy philanthropists. Think of the heritage I’m promoting.

Hey, a girl can dream.

In the meantime, I’ll spend the next few weeks highlighting my firm favourites. So, watch this space.