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WWith 11 official languages and multitudes of customs and rituals, South Africans define themselves through their cultural ceremonies and traditions, many of which focus on the sharing of food. This is most apparent in the diverse styles of food. We really love eating, so join us at the table and tuck in.

While in South Africa you’ll be amazed at the range of delicious food on offer. Because of the way different groups were isolated from each other, many food rituals have remained traditional and not amalgamated. Each community and culture has a way of celebrating and marking time.

Did You Know?
SSouth Africans refer to edible indigenous plants as veldkos. The food we take on road trips is called padkos.

IIn this semi-arid country, rain is hugely important. At the beginning of the growing season, almost all South Africans appeal to the ancestors for rain. In the Limpopo region, the Balobedu people pour African beer out of calabashes onto the earth. The Rain Queen—known as Modjadji—can then communicate with the ancestral spirits. In many African cultures, beer is poured in front of the house to welcome and give thanks to the ancestors.

TThere are a number of rites that mark the start of womanhood or manhood. In the Eastern Cape, young Xhosa men—abakhwetha—leave the village to stay in an isolated place where they eat a limited diet while learning about being a man. For the San women, the ritual centres on food and associated taboos. In the Afrikaans community, some young men are taken game hunting. The blood of their first kill is wiped on their cheeks.

To celebrate a birth, the Cape Malay community in Cape Town serve Kolwadjib, rose water-infused rice cakes, at the baby’s naming ceremony. Ever tasted Cape Malay food? When South Africans talk about traditional foods, these are some of the flavours and influences they’re referring to: masala, bobotie, Malay curry and roti. They’re all part of the country’s distinct “fusion cuisine”, and are warm, spicy and so inviting. The Cape Malay Cooking Safari with Andulela Experience Tours introduces you to all this…and more.

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