On a recent trip to South Africa with the South African Tourism Board, I got a glimpse of the iconic types of cuisine the Rainbow Nation has to offer. My education, however, didn't stop with the food: I discovered just as much about the place and its people, who were hopeful, positive, and incredibly generous. Take a look at some highlights, from Cape Town to the winelands to Kruger National Park.
Travelers don't flock to South Africa for its grub so much as they do its game drives. But on a recent trip there with the South African Tourism Board, I discovered why South African fare has famously been dubbed "rainbow cuisine": the food and drink in this country are as diverse as the people themselves.
South Africa's geographic location and its intricate colonial history have resulted in a cuisine that draws heavily not only from indigenous Africa, but also the Dutch, German, French, Indonesian, English, Indian, and Portuguese. Keep reading to learn more about the various influences on rainbow cuisine and what might go into a well-stocked South African pantry.
If you want to create your own "rainbow cuisine" from the comfort of your kitchen, start by incorporating a few of these South African staples into your pantry. The vast majority of these items are affordable and easy to come by online. Whereas meat and fresh vegetables make up the majority of dishes, these seven items will build the foundation of your South African pantry.
While I come across plenty of home decor pieces that inspire my sense of style and speak to my aesthetics, it's definitely rare to discover a piece of furniture that inspires my hopes and dreams. The Dreams for Africa Chair by Woza Moya is just that such a chair. The winner of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) award at the international design show Design Indaba Expo in Cape Town, the Dreams for Africa Chair invites people from all walks of life to sit in the chair and share their dreams.
The chair was created two years ago by 160 women from the Valley of 1,000 Hills in KwaZulu-Natal, who created the chair through Woza Moya, an income generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust These women use their crafting and art skills to earn an income, with Woza Moya currently representing over 200 crafters, marketing their goods.
The inspiration for the chair, according to the Hillcrest AIDS centre, came from the women themselves, who were understandably overwhelmed by their diagnosis and the basic survival of their children and families. "We wanted to make people dream again and encourage powerful positive thoughts about our futures and of course our beautiful country. To restore hope. So started our Dreams for Africa series.These are going to be collaborative 'art' pieces that challenge us as crafters."
Featuring local craftsmanship and Zulu beadwork, the chair is now on a tour of South Africa and beyond. Take a look at some South Africans photographed with the chair, and read about the dreams they share.
While most American women gave thanks this past weekend, a new report revealed the overwhelming sexual violence facing South African women. The annual survey from the Medical Research Center found that one in three South African men admits to committing rape. After last year's report discovered that one in four South African men admits to rape, I thought things couldn't get worse in a country that inspired the terrifying antirape condom.
The stats tell a scary story: while 25 percent of women surveyed said they were raped, only one in 25 of rapes was reported. One-third of the men in the anonymous study felt no guilt after, and men gave reasons such as sexual entitlement, a desire to punish women who had rejected them, or boredom to justify their actions.
Attempting to explain such widespread sexual violence, the lead researcher described rape as a "legitimate activity" in South Africa and placed some of the blame on apartheid, which created a culture of violence and few legal repercussions. She said that empowering boys and intervening in violent homes could help end the cycle.
This approach reminds me of what American ant-domestic violence advocate Ali Torre told me last month. She said: "Anger management is very important to prevent a potential perpetrator by intervening when you see a child who is acting out in school, who is getting in fights, who's not being a successful student. Our philosophy is that before you punish them or suspend them, why not have someone listen to them and find out what's going on in their lives." South Africa is going to have to pair such individual intervention with some serious big-picture overhauls — like following through when victims come forward — if it wants to stop one third of its male population from raping women.
Looking for a getaway that will have you living the high life? Then hop a flight to South Africa and head to Plettenberg Bay, where the Kurland Hotel will have you playing polo, sipping brandy, and enjoying spa treatments in a gorgeous setting.
Kurland, which was renovated into a luxury hotel 10 years ago, has received many accolades, including a 2002 runner-up award for the prestigious Tatler Hotel of the Year. The hotel's look is homey and unique, thanks to furnishings sourced from family heirlooms and objets d’art discovered at international fairs such as Maison & Objet in Paris and Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan.
To learn more about this hotel, as well as to check out more photos, read more
Eighteen-year-old champion runner Caster Semenya has been teased by her peers all her life for looking "like a boy." After the South African won the gold medal at the World Championships this week, surpassing her nearest rival by an astonishing 2.45 seconds, some of her fellow competitors began accusing her of being a man. Now, she faces questions over her biological sex, not from schoolyard bullies but from the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), who wants her to undergo a series of tests to prove she is a woman.
Caster's mother denies the allegations saying "I gave birth to that girl from my womb" and other black South Africans point to the accusations as an example of insensitive and demeaning attitudes of black African women held by Westerners.
As for the IAAF, the officials say they do not doubt that Caster was raised a female all her life, they just hope the complex tests will determine whether she was given an unfair medical advantage. Sadly, these tests, which look for the presence of two X chromosomes, are potentially inaccurate and discriminatory against women with sex chromosomal disorders. (Some women can have XXY, XXXY or any number of variations of X or Y chromosomes.)
Regardless of whether Caster passes the test, do you think a woman who might have a Y chromosome, but the physiology of a woman, should be able to compete against other women?
The figure "one in four" has always stood out in my mind — statistics show that one in four college women in America have survived rape or attempted rape. Now the figure has taken on meaning in South Africa as well, where one in four men admit to raping someone.
If you thought the high incidence of rape was tragic, an incredibly sad study reveals it’s even worse than you might have imagined. Men who were physically violent toward women were also twice as likely to be HIV positive. The study unveiled a culture of violence that just gets more disturbing. In South Africa, some men consider gang rape a form of male bonding.
As the high rate of rape suggests, women in South Africa cannot count on the government to address the epidemic — only 7 percent of reported cases lead to a conviction.
I could hardly believe it when I read that 33 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 34 are infected with HIV in South Africa. Thankfully, in the country with a total of 5.5 million people living with HIV, some progress is being made.
According to a new report, the overall infection rate has leveled off to 10.9 percent for those aged two or older, in part thanks to increased condom use. In 2002, only 57 percent of men aged 15-24 used condoms, compared to 87 percent today.
After the country's previous president, Thabo Mbeki, long denied the link between HIV and AIDS (instead blaming deaths on malnutrition), it's reassuring to see prevention and education saving lives.