Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • shotLeft

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back
South Africa
Culture
History
Food
Family
Cape Town
Johannesburg
Bloemfontein
Durban
Nelspruit
Pretoria
Port Elizabeth
Polokwane
Kimberley

AAmaXhosa love meat, and during rituals where animals are slaughtered, no part is wasted - the head, feet and tripe (stomach) are all eaten. Beef tripe and sheep tripe are both a delicacy, and are usually cooked like a stew. Tripe is eaten on its own, or with samp (dried corn kernels that have been stamped and chopped until broken) or stiff mieliepap (maize meal porridge). Samp is a staple dish of the Xhosa people, and it can be eaten on its own or mixed with mashed potato. It can also be cooked with beans and eaten with meat and gravy.

Sheep heads and trotters, and chicken feet and heads are eaten as snacks, accompanied by samp or mieliepap. A cow head can feed a family and is not as expensive as regular meat such as steak and brisket, which is why it’s so popular. A cow head is usually given to men when they attend a ritual, while the women are given tripe.

A popular summer meal known as “African salad” is umphokoqo, a crumbly maize meal with sour milk or butter milk. Other well-loved side dishes are umqa, umxhaxha and umkhuphu. Umqa is a stiff maize meal porridge and can be cooked with curried cabbage or spinach, umxhaxha is a combination of pumpkin and corn, and umkhuphu is maize meal and beans. Another favourite is boiled mielies which can be eaten as a snack. In townships, eating mealies is called “playing the harmonica”. They’re also eaten after funerals, and served at the gate of the home where the funeral is. Guests are given water to wash their hands, and there will be dishes filled with corn at the gate, which guests eat before the main meal is served.

IIn Xhosa culture, meals were not typically controlled by time like they are in the European culture. Eating in the morning would be done before families dispersed to do their daily chores, otherwise people ate when they were hungry. Meals would be cooked in the morning and late afternoon when people returned from the fields or from herding cattle and so on. Usually if people felt hungry during the day they would eat whatever had been left over from the morning meal.

Things have changed a lot, since Africans have been greatly influenced by European eating habits, and now we look at our watches before eating because meals have titles nowadays. African cuisine has also become very popular for tourists who flock to the townships for authentic African meals.

AAbout the author

Fatima Dike is a Cape-Town based playwright, director and teacher, and is well versed on Xhosa culture. Her writing career started in 1976 and spans decades of written plays and directing work. She has been a writer in residence at The Open University in Milton Keynes, London and has lectured at John Carroll University in Cleveland Ohio. Since 2005 she has been a member of SIT, an international organisation that brings university students from the US to South Africa to study multiculturalism. They are hosted by black families in Langa where they live as family members and are encouraged to speak Xhosa as much as possible. Fatima is also a founder member of a multi-disciplinary company called Umbonowethu, which teaches drama, photography and dance.

Where to visit

Related articles

Breathtaking scenery

Patricia Chiloane: Serurubele Boutique Hotel

Breathtaking scenery
Patricia Chiloane: Serurubele Boutique Hotel

Patricia Chiloane is a passionate and dedicated ambassador of Mpumalanga province. She is a descendant of landowners, who have lived in the area of Bushbuckridge for generations. When she initially conceptualised Serurubele Boutique Hotel, the MBA graduate’s goal was to create a tourism ecosystem to benefit everyone in the small town. Her other goal was to elevate Bushbuckridge on the tourism map. The land on which Serurubele Boutique Hotel is built has been in her family for four generations. The hotel’s name, Serurubele, is derived from the SeSotho word for butterfly, the small insect that is endemic to the Lowveld. As visitors walk through the hotel, they are immersed in the story of the region. The hotel’s 16 luxury rooms are punctuated with pictures of the Lowveld butterflies, paying homage to the natural splendour of the area.

Bustling city life

Marina Appelbaum: Nikos and Old Ducky French Cafe

Bustling city life
Marina Appelbaum: Nikos and Old Ducky French Cafe

South Africa is a marvel. Not only does the country boast warm and welcoming people, but it has also an array of culinary offerings enough to cater to any palate and feast. We continue with our celebration of South Africa’s women in the tourism and hospitality sector and this time we catch up with foodie, Marina Appelbaum Marina Appelbaum grew up in the kitchen of the iconic Three Sisters Cafe in Hillbrow which her mother ran for 28 years, with a family legacy like hers it is unsurprising that she is the owner of two thriving eateries - Nikos and The Old Ducky French Café in Pineslopes in Fourways, Johannesburg.

Breathtaking scenery

Mpho Molema: The Workshop ko Kasi, Northern Cape

Breathtaking scenery
Mpho Molema: The Workshop ko Kasi, Northern Cape

Despite its scenic landscape and being home to the Eye of Kuruman (a wondrous natural spring known as one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere), Kuruman in the Northern Cape is not often the first place that one thinks of when we speak about tourism in South Africa. Mpho Molema, a native of Mothibistad township in Kuruman, defies this status quo through The Workshop ko Kasi”, an eco-tourism and creative hub offering authentic African experiences to visitors from all over the world.

Breathtaking scenery

Khosi Tyobeka, Zimase Travel

Breathtaking scenery
Khosi Tyobeka, Zimase Travel

Khosi Tyobeka has built her business around making travelling easy and accessible. Her company, Zimasa Travel, provides tailor-made travel solutions; from planning to the execution of travel or conference needs. The award winning entrepreneur’s flair for business runs in her family. When she was growing up her mother operated a food business in their small village in the North West Province .

Vibrant culture

South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Nelson Mandela’s home province

Vibrant culture
South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Nelson Mandela’s home province

Home to glorious stretches of beaches, mountainous terrains, jaw-dropping rock formations, a rich catalogue of plant and wildlife which includes the Big 7 (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, Southern Right whales and Great White sharks), South Africa’s Eastern Cape province is also the birth place of the late global icon and humanitarian - Nelson Mandela. The acclaimed leader, whose birthday is celebrated globally through acts of kindness on 18 July, was born and raised amongst this province’s lush valleys and winding rivers.

Vibrant culture

Valley of a Thousand Hills, KwaZulu-Natal: picturesque gateway to the Midlands

Vibrant culture
Valley of a Thousand Hills, KwaZulu-Natal: picturesque gateway to the Midlands

The Valley of a Thousand Hills between Durban and Pietermaritzburg is the gateway to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, rich in history, culture, scenic beauty, outdoor adventures and tourist attractions.

Breathtaking scenery

The Upper Karoo Route: meander through Northern Cape from Victoria West to Calvinia

Breathtaking scenery
The Upper Karoo Route: meander through Northern Cape from Victoria West to Calvinia

The Upper Karoo Route from Victoria West to Calvinia via Carnarvon offers the beautiful landscape of Northern Cape (strewn with daisies in spring), rare wildlife and a thriving, hospitable culture.

Vibrant culture

Xhosa cuisine: a delicious blend of ancient and modern

Vibrant culture
Xhosa cuisine: a delicious blend of ancient and modern

Visitors to South Africa should make sure they try Xhosa cuisine, whether in its Eastern Cape heartland or anywhere else that offers umngqusho, amasi, ikhowa and other delicacies.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2022 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy