Taste Is In Knowledge

Mme Eunice Rakhale-Molefe started writing at the mature age of 56. Already, her work has been featured in 14 book titles. Moreover, she is a publisher. Her protégé, Mme Cynthia Thembeka Sesi (63) of Braamfischer in Soweto has won a Pansalb award (2017) for the book, Isipho Xhosa Poems Vol.2. Mme Sesi was 61 when she started writing.

Mme Eunice Rakhale-Molefe documents African food

For somebody who used to work in a restaurant and owned butcheries, this deflection could be a calling. “We used to organize theme events in Fourways. When we organized June ’76 event, only a few people attended, but St. Patrick Day theme attracted huge numbers. Most did not even know who that St. Patrick was. That’s when I realized that, there is a need to educate people about our history,” says Mme Rakhale-Molefe.

Her latest book is called South African Culinary Heritage. “This book is about our food heritage. If we don’t understand our food, we don’t value them,” she emphasises. “It (book) shows that as Africans we share same food, but we named them differently.

Indeed, pap is called sadza in Zimbabwe; ntsima in certain parts of Zambia and Malawi. Masinyani are called vitumbuwa in Chinyanja language spoken in Zambia.  She criticizes the idea that African food is classified as dumplings, morogo, fatcakes, manqina and mqombothi. It is bigger than that. “We have three course meals, a la carte and grapes for wine. The book talks about all that,” she says.

Mme Rakhale-Molefe is happy that young African people are now commercializing African food. “It is only good when it is done by them. Our heritage needs to be documented and we own the rights. Now we own Kota.”

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