This story is told by Tendani Tshauambea in his own words.
On 25 August 2022, Senior Living Spaces (SLS) cluster member and outgoing cluster convenor, Tendani Tshauambea, organised a food experience in Kayamandi for a group of local and international students.
“The idea behind the food experience was to expose students to the food culture of Xhosa people in the Western Cape," said Tshauambea.
The international students were from the University of Warwick on the outskirts of Coventry, England, and have been volunteering for the past four weeks at Makapula and Kayamandi Secondary schools as student teachers. They were joined by a group of students from the SLS cluster at Amazink Live – a Kayamandi institution, well known for its colourful décor, poetry sessions and delicious food.
After arrival, the students were given a short tour of the Amazink restaurant, followed by a meal. During the meal, Zintle Nomavuka – front of house manager at Amazink – gave a brief explanation of the different foods that the students would be eating.
“When Zintle explained that tripe is the stomach lining of a sheep or cow, one or two faces visibly changed expression," said Tshauambea while laughing.
The food fair consisted of a tasting menu of foods usually eaten by black South Africans. This tasting menu was served in individual platters.
“Each platter contained three different meats for the students to taste: ulusu (tripe), umleqwa (roadrunner chicken) as well as amaqina (chicken feet). For the vegetarians, the meat was replaced with a fresh coleslaw and additional side. These were served with a starch choice of dombolo (steamed bread), pap (stiff maize meal) or samp. To round off, a side could be chosen from butternut, creamy spinach or chakalaka, a relish/salsa like side dish," he explained.
The students also learnt some interesting lessons during a story session focused on the roadrunner chicken called umleqwa in isiXhosa.
“The word umleqwa comes from the word 'leqwa', which means to chase, as you must do when trying to catch the bird.
“The feedback received from the students was overwhelmingly positive. They all shared how much they enjoyed their meals – including the tripe, which everyone had at least a bite of! Shohina Ahmadbekova was one of those who enjoyed the tripe and described the meal that she had at Amazink as the best meal she has had during her time in South Africa," added Tshauambea.
The chicken feet he said, which are difficult to eat but very delicious, proved to be most popular as two students bought extra servings to take home for later snacking.
“The food experience highlighted the power of food in bringing people together in a space where they could explore, eat and experience the culture of Kayamandi. In the words of Guy Fieri, “food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people eat together."
According to Noël Bekkers, SLS Cluster ResEd Coordinator and Residence Head at House MacDonald., the value of the food experience lies in its inherent potential to 'bring everyone together' and foster engagement not only with the food individuals are eating but also with the stories behind the food.
“It is this second part, which has the revolutionary potential for our community in Stellenbosch to strengthen its social cohesion," he said.
While this event only catered for ten students, with appropriate planning and coordination there is room to upscale the event to include more students. With Heritage month coming up in September, an event like the food experience would be an opportune moment for students to explore, eat and experience 'Kayamandi in a bite'."
For assistance in organising an event like the food experience, please contact Elouise Van Wyk on email@example.com. To get more information on the different menu options available at Amazink, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.