Basotho dining deluxe
Did you know?
Sekokomogane spice is unique to the BaSotho people and is made by grinding marula seeds.
The Basotho people historically lived in a broad area that encompasses much of South Africa's Free State province and also the independent kingdom of Lesotho. Urbanisation and migrant labour have ensured that you will now often hear the Sotho language spoken in Gauteng. In its traditional heartland Basotho cooking reflects the agricultural and culinary demands of cold winters and mountainous terrain. There is a culture of vegetable preservation and many Basotho dishes are infused by the intense flavours of sun dried vegetables known as mangangajane.
There is a Basotho food preference for a fermented flavour which is a taste that can be confusing and disconcerting for the uninitiated palate but is well worth acquiring. Sorghum, millet and maize are ground, made into a polenta-like porridge dish which when fermented. This porridge has a yoghurt-like flavour and is known as ting. Steamed dumplings made with fermented maize meal are known as leqebekoane and are commonly added to stews.
Meat is luxury item but Basotho celebrations are commonly accompanied by braised oxtail which is traditionally served with dumplings, morogo-dried vegetable melanges and beetroot salad. Herd boys watching sheep and cattle catch wild game and rabbits to sustain themselves during their long mountain sojourns.
Those wishing to taste Basotho cooking in Pretoria should try Kwazi which makes a heavenly ting or Janicky's Place in Atteridgeville township which has moatwana chicken foot stew and mqombothi beer. In Bloemfontein try Buck Molakedi's Bush Pub for sechu sa khoho chicken stew. It all goes well with beer and good company which are always on the menu. When in Ladybrand Alida Bikane Catering and Tavern in Manyatseng township offers a delicious introduction to Basotho hospitality
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Kwazi 283 Esselen Street, Sunnyside Pretoria Tel 021 341 8088
Janicky’s Restaurant 165 Monroe Street, Atteridgeville Pretoria 012 373 4238
Buck’s Tavern 219 Mochera Street, cnr Ngcayiya Rd, Bloemfontein, Free State 051 564 0733
Bush Pub 219 Mochera Street, cnr Ngcayiya Rd, Bloemfontein, Free State 051 564 0733
Alida Bikane Catering and Tavern 1390 Ramohapi Street Manyatseng, Lady Brand Free State 082 7109714