In the closing week of Africa Month, Kobo Cuisine and Zyle Clothing, hosted a special dinner. The evening celebrating local culture, cuisine and fashion, was held at the Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School on Saturday
Masterchef South Africa and Ultimate Braai Master Judge Chef Benny Masekwameng, as well as the president of the South African chefs Association, James Khoza, were among those present.
Phuzmile Ntuli, the founder of Zyle Clothing, showcased blankets from her latest collections. The blankets draw inspiration from various South African cultures.
She showed us her top three brackets, one with a hoodie inspired by the Venda culture, a cape blanket inspired by the Ndebele’s and another one that honours the Khoisans.
Elaborating on the three blankets, she said: “ This one (pointing at the blue blanket with a hoodie) was inspired by the VaVenda, how they love and appreciate colours. The blanket represents the munwenda (munwenda is a multi-coloured striped cloth that comes in two pieces – a top and a bottom).
“This one (referring to the cape blanket) has circles inspired by idzila, a necklace worn by AmaNdebele. The significance behind the neckpiece of AmaNdebele is more like an Africa ring. When a woman gets married, they give her the necklace as a ring. It symbolises unity and lifetime commitment. I applied it to the blanket because I wanted to spread a message of unity amongst the nations to eliminate tribalism and xenophobia.”
She added: “The last blanket was inspired by the Khoisan and the soil, together with the utensils such as the bow and arrow that the Khoisans used for hunting. The circles represent the ostrich eggs that the Khoisans use to drink water.”
While Ntuli was showing us her blankets, Chef Siya was busy with his student chefs, preparing a seven-course African cuisine meal.
Guests then made their way to a special room where dinner was served.
Course one consisted of fish and chakalaka pillow, chicken livers pate, and chicken giblets and feet terrine.
The second course was umvubo, which is phutu pap with mass. It was paired with whey jelly and tuille.
Course three was rooibos smoked snoek with mango atchaar mousse apricot caviar and snoek infused emulsion.
For a palette cleanser, we had gemmer granita. Gemmer is one of South Africa’s most famous traditional juices made from ginger.
The fourth course was chicken and isigwampa ( a traditional Zulu dish made of maize meal and spinach), coral sponge, fluid gel and pap capsules.
By the time we reached course five, I was already full, but I could not miss samp and tripe, one of South Africa’s most famous dishes. The samp and tripe came with cauliflower pickles, crisp mogodu, espuma and tomato gravy reduction.
Course six was beef loin with veg ash and umqa (porridge mixed with butternut) and amankani umhluzi (cocoyam and braised beef gravy).
For desserts, we had a beetroot sponge and umqombothi ice cream, Macadamia crumbles and strawberry salsa.
Chef Koko encouraged South Africans to get into the habit of eating African cuisine regularly, not just on special occasions. He said that African traditions must be celebrated at all times.