First Lady’s cookout competition spiced with San culture brilliance

18 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
First Lady’s cookout competition spiced with San culture brilliance Environment Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry Deputy Minister Barbara Rwodzi celebrates with Mrs Phelile Ncube after scooping the first prize during First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa cookout competition in Makhulela yesterday

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE San community yesterday took advantage of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s cookout competition to showcase their culture which could be a window to culinary tourism of the previously forgotten community.

From making yoghurt from baobab fruit to showcasing dried elephant meat, the world got to understand the lives lived by the San community beyond the always gloomy picture of poverty and despair.

The whole San community of Makhulela in Bulilima District, Matabeleland came out to support their 20 compatriots who competed against each other to represent them in the finals of the annual First Lady’s cookout competition to be held in Victoria Falls later this month.

As if the cooking competition was not enough, members of the community sang and performed their cultural dance much to the amusement of guests, some visiting the community for the first time.

Following the cooking competition exercise, Mrs Phelile Ncube (50) came first with her culinary of a yoghurt dessert made from baobab fruit, a dish of amaqebelengwana and tea as well isitshwala with a relish of their version of ibhobola made from melon leaves.

Mrs Ncube also made amacimbi relish to complete her dish.

Another contestant, Mrs Sibangilizwe Khupe came second after making umxhanxa dish as well as dried elephant meat, a relish which has been part of the culture for generations, as the community was previously hunter gathers.

Other contestants showcased several traditional dishes that are part of the San community’s daily food.


The participants were given grocery hampers for participating in the contest.

Mrs Ncube and Mrs Khupe are set to represent their community in the finals of the cookout competition to be held in Victoria Falls.

The pair were beaming with confidence as they praised the First Lady for shining the light on them.

Mrs Ncube said if it was not for the First Lady, the San would probably have remained a forgotten community, only known for poverty and marginalisation.

“But now we are going to represent our community at a national level and showcase what we cook and eat. I have never been to Victoria Falls and this will also be a learning curve for me. Through umama uFirst Lady spotlighting our community we are seeing a lot of people coming here to interact with us,” she said.

First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa

“This never happened in the past, we feel we are now also recognised as Zimbabweans. We now have national documents such as birth certificates and IDs. I doubt we would be having these documents without her intervention.”

On the other hand, Mrs Khupe said their confidence has increased through interacting with the outside world.

“One of my dishes was dried elephant meat. I dried the meat using the sun heat and managed to season it without adding any foreign spices. I used the oils that are found within the animal. This was done by our forefathers and I’m carrying that culture forward,” said Mrs Khupe.

She said Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks) at certain intervals shoots down an elephant for them and that is where she got the meat.

“I will be taking the same dish for the national competition where the First Lady is going to attend. We are proud of her, since we started participating in the cookout competition last year our confidence has continued to increase. We are proud to be identified as the San community from Sabasi area in Makhulela,” she said.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Deputy Minister Barbara Rwodzi, who represented the First Lady, commended the San community for retaining their culture.

She said what is pleasing is that there is cultural transfer from older generations to younger ones.

 Deputy Minister Barbara Rwodzi

“The First Lady sent me to come here because you have a special space in her heart. While provincial cookout competitions were held in the province she sent me to come here so that you have your own competition as the San community of Makhulela. She started this competition last year and women should continue to provide nutritious, delicious meals from their homesteads,” she said.

“Food is a very important component of tourism because whenever people visit your home they want to eat and food becomes a very important component of our culture and heritage. As opposed to rushing to the shops to provide our visitors with modern Westernised foods, let’s provide our visitors with our traditional meals.”

Deputy Minister Rwodzi tasted almost all the dishes that were made by the San cooks and said they were different from what she saw in other provinces.

She said it was a first for her to taste isitshwala made from milk, dried elephant meat and even traditional fruit.
Deputy Minister Rwodzi was so charmed by the dance moves of the San that she joined them as they sang and danced and gifted them with cash at the end of their performances.

Deputy Minister Barbara Rwodzi interacts with cookout competition contestant Mrs Phelile Ncube (right) over her dish while Matabeleland South Provincial and Devolution Permanent Secretary Ms Latiso Dlamini looks on

Speaking during the same event, Bulilima West legislator who is also Information and Communication Technologies, Postal and Courier Services Deputy Minister Dingumuzi Phuthi commended the First Lady for extending the cook out to the previously marginalised community.

He said since 2018, the First Lady has made numerous visits to the San community which has resulted in their lives being uplifted.

“Right now, there is no one without identity documents in this area and we want to thank the First Lady for taking a deliberate step to uplift this community. On the other hand, we want to express our gratitude to President Mnangagwa who has come up with a policy that no place and no one should be left behind. We are seeing the changes that are happening in Makhulela as a result of President Mnangagwa’s intervention. Development is coming to places like Makhulela where this community was neglected but now it is proud to be part of the Zimbabwean people,” he said. – @nqotshili.

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