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Guest post: The uniqueness of South African food

A Hungry African

Saffa Tradingis an online food shop that specialises in exporting authentic South African Food like Biltong, Boerewors, Groceries, Drinks, and SA Wines. They also stock various other unique South African essentials like SA Pharmaceuticals, weight loss products and even Springbok Memorabilia. All items can be shipped via trusted delivery companies such as DHL, Post Office Airmail and EMS. If you love South African produced food but can’t get it where you stay, this is the site for you!

Saffa Trading will be posting guest posts to “A Hungry African” regularly to get your taste buds going and maybe inspire you to try some South African dishes or order some South African delicacies. The first post is on the uniqueness of South African food, which dishes on the list have you tasted?

South African food is world-renowned amongst foodies, and our top-class restaurants and eateries delight the taste buds of countless tourists…

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Happy (Birthday to me!) Cape Town


President Zuma Comes to NMMU

15March2014

I did not imagine being able to see the president of South Africa when I cam to study here for the semester.  I had hoped that it might be possible because it is an election year.  Then an email came through the NMMU system telling us that he would be on campus Saturday!  There were three other international students (our group was 2 Americans, 1 girl from Norway, and 1 girl from Germany) that wanted to go with me from our accommodation.  We kept trying to decide when to leave and finally we thought we would leave approximately an hour before the doors opened.  I had no idea who difficult it would be to get in or find a seat. My only point of reference is the US and its crazy in the US for an event like this.

It was tricky finding the auditorium because the school buildings were not open, which is the only way I know how to get around North Campus (cutting through all of the buildings). So, we went the long way around! Twice.  Finally, we made it to the courtyard and many of the students already had on the yellow ANC shirts. We thought maybe they were giving the shirts away in the parking lot and since we couldn’t yet go into the auditorium we’d try to get a shirt for ourselves.  Out in the parking lot they were setting up tents, grills, and a stage  for another event but we didn’t see anyone giving away the yellow shirts.  So, we meandered back to the building to see if we could get in yet.  The security guards rejected us again, so we found a place in the shade to soak up some of the university’s wifi.

Each of us became immersed in our on 3×5 world of our phones.  A few minutes later I was jarred out of my electronic stupor when I heard American accents from unfamiliar voices.  I saw a ginger boy and a blonde girl just feet from me and I had no idea who they were.  Waiting for a brief pause in their conversation, I blurted out “Where are y’all from?”  Now, they looked equally puzzled to see me!  Then come to find out they were from St. John’s and St. Ben’s respectively.  We finally discovered why we never see these students! It is because their program at NMMU follows the semester schedule back in the US, which means that they have their own classes etc. Mystery solved!  I would really hate that because they don’t get a chance to meet South Africans or other international students. Our conversation with them was interrupted when NMMU students started singing songs and getting ready for the rally.  After a moment a circle of students gathered and I went closer to video their singing and dancing.

By the end of the video you maybe able to tell that the circle disbanded and we started to walk towards the doors.  The singing didn’t stop until President Zuma took the stage.  It was so interesting to see how the songs transitioned one to the next.  There were no microphones and none were needed.  But if someone started a song and the rest of the crowd didn’t like the song or the voice of the person who started it, they would quickly move on to the next one.  Before the crowd grew inside of the auditorium there was much up and down because the songs were not flowing.  I joked with my new friend sitting next to me that it felt like church.  Then the crowd grew and the signing became constant.  I didn’t know any of the words but I can always clap!  So, I stood and clapped along to the songs.  At one point they couldn’t stay in their seats any longer and formed a line toyi-toying around the perimeter of the auditorium.  Then we got word that President Zuma had finally arrived and the crowd started singing his favorite songs.  By this time the place was bursting at the seems and students were overflowing outside.

The panel discussion itself was very party-line.  I was not surprised though because it was a political rally to motivate the young people to vote.  I did wonder then why was it staged as a panel discussion?  Why not just re-frame the event to let each of these panelist speak in praise of the African National Congress (ANC) and President Zuma?  I thought it would have kept the momentum moving along, morale higher, and lent transparency to the event.  Just a couple of thoughts as an interested observer.

Before the rally was over President Zuma himself led the crowd in a couple of songs and everyone loved it!

I really wish we had more singing and dancing in our culture but especially at our political events.  So much more fun!  If we do adopt something like this I definitely think it’ll be the Democrats who do it first 😉 By the time we left we were all in high spirits.

 


Redemption Song

Sung by a professor of Library Sciences at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) at the Staff Concert to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela.  There were several other performances…I tried to capture the NMMU Choir but my phone could not do them justice.  Here is the song they preformed:


5 Years #TBT

I keep saying, “Wow! What a difference 5 years makes.” Then I stopped, thought about it. And damn! If I wasn’t completely right about this one!

Five years ago…

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I was still reeling from the effects of 2008. In the short span of those 12 months my mother died, my sister and her family moved out of state, I relocated to Durham, got laid off from my job, went back to university for the last 9 credits of my bachelor’s degree, and graduated.

This time in 2009, I was bracing for my first birthday without my mom. It was the first time that I didn’t feel any joy on that particular day. It felt more empty, her absence amplified. Honestly, I do not even remember doing anything special for my own birthday. I took a trip to visit my sister and helped her celebrate her big day. It was my way to compensate for our mom being gone. She did an amazing job, even as we got older, to make our birthdays feel special. We were lucky to have our birthdays around Easter and almost every year we were all together at some point close to our birthdays.

But 2009 was the start of putting together new traditions with our smaller family. Her birthday was really great! Our dad and step mom came up for the day. My nephew really enjoyed so many of “his people” being at his house for the day. And there was lemon cake (always a win). As 2009 progressed things impoved. I was able to celebrate my nephew’s 3rd birthday with him. In September, I started a new job that I was good at and enjoyed. Double bonus! I got rid of all the notes, articles, and papers from undergad because I had no plans of going back to school! I was d-o-n-e!

Five years later, I not only changed jobs but careers. Moved to Minnesota, I still don’t know if its natural that people live this far north. I went back to school and I’m about to graduate with my master’s and start a PhD program in the fall! What? In 2009, I was still dreaming of Africa and now I’ve not only been here but I’m living here for 6 months.

None of what I’m doing now was on the agenda then. I’m in awe of my life and loving it!


Studying Abroad Is Like Learning Japanese

You may think this sounds crazy but hear me out!  

20140326-203728.jpgWhen I was a freshman in high school I had to sign up for a foreign language.  I chose Spanish because I thought it was the practical option.  I wish now I’d chosen Latin, but such is life.  Anyway, back to what I was saying…yes, when I was a high school freshman.  I struggled with Spanish.  I would learn vocabulary by comparing it to English words or phrases.  Spanish grammar confounded me but honestly, at this point, with my poor foundational education so did English grammar.  A final blow to my Spanish endeavor socked me late Spring semester when we had to move.  Of course this move meant that I had to transfer schools (per usual) and landed in a different state’s school system late March.  I barely passed and after that year left Spanish behind without thinking or knowing what I would do for a foreign language.  

When I got to university the boy I was seeing signed up for Japanese and I thought, “Why the hell not?” As one does when they first sign up for university courses *smiles*  To my shock and everyone’s shock when I tell them this story, I did really well.  Japanese was easy for me!  Why?  Because I had no choice but to learn the language.  The alphabet was completely different, no Latin characters. Nothing to compare the language to.  If I wanted to learn it and I did because I needed to for the grade (its all about proper motivation), I just sank my teeth into the language.  The more I learned, the more I enjoyed it.

Which brings me to my larger point, studying abroad is like learning Japanese.  Even if you are studying in a Western or Westernized country, it is not your home country.  Full stop.  While there may be similarities like there was for me when I studied Spanish you’ll never fully learn the cultural language of the country if you keep comparing it to your home country.  No, instead you need to fully immerse yourself in the new country you’re temporarily living in.  Accepting the host country as a completely different place with its own history, culture, secrets, and troubles.  Then you can more fully immerse yourself and have an authentic experience.


Ethnographic Emergency

Quick, call an anthropologist!

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