While the names of many traditional dishes will not ring familiar to many of the visitors from abroad, South Africans will recognise dishes such as Morogo (an indigenous green leafy vegetable), Mealie Bread, Polokwe (fresh mealie balls), Semphemphe Pudding (wild melon pudding) and Mabele Porridge (sorghum porridge). Other dishes that might not be known by South African city dwellers, include Masonja (Mopani Worms and ground peanut dish), and Isigwampa (a vegetable and mealie dish).
The recipes have been collected as part of a project aimed at commercialising and promoting South African Indigenous Foods has been funded by the Department of Science and Technology and implemented by CSIR Food, Biological and Chemical Technologies.
Tshidi Moroka, Technology for Development Programme Manager at the CSIR elaborates: "Five provinces had initially been selected for project implementation: Limpopo, North West, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Typically our implementation started with community interaction. We met with women in remote corners of South Africa and experienced how they traditionally prepare food; we looked at the raw products available in the regions and thereafter staged food fairs to further facilitate interaction with communities. In addition to capturing this information, we evaluated these dishes for commercial potential. At this stage, food scientists joined the process to assist with new product development, studies on stabilisation, food processing and shelf-life."
While some dishes and beverages were the starting point for new products that are being commercialised, the recipe book contains the broader range of dishes prepared by generations of women.
"We have ceded the copyright of the book to IndiZAFoods, the Section 21 company created to facilitate the commercialisation of the indigenous food products. This means that proceeds from the sale of the book will be re-invested into community initiatives," says Ms Lerato Thahane, Group Executive, Technology for Development of the Department of Science and Technology.
In her message in the book, the Deputy-Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica, says the recipe book illustrates the vastness of traditional knowledge, often untapped and quickly disappearing, that could be harnessed and used as a vehicle for rural development that specifically empowers women, and in turn whole communities, given the pivotal role they continue to play in our country.
The book can be purchased via Exclusive Books. Visit http://www.exclusivebooks.co.za/
Issued by: CSIR Group Communication on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology and the CSIR.
The CSIR is the largest R&D and implementation technology agency in Africa with a track record spanning more than 50 years. Structured around 8 distinct business areas, it delivers innovation and technology solutions in support of its clients and stakeholders. See www.CSIR.co.za or contact +27 12 841 2000.
Alida Britz, CSIR
Tel: 082 327 8339
Tel: (012) 841 4674
Andrew Aphane, Department of Science and Technology
Tel: 012-337 8565 or 082 387 5615