I was riding along and listening to an in-depth discussion with regards to the problems faced in Africa on the Radio. As I listened I was intrigued as to who these so called specialists were and from what point of view they were looking into The Dark Continent as one of them named my home continent. Not once during this discussion did any of them mention the West or so called civilised world’s part in Africa’s past and present problems.
I am always amused at home that so many people immediately have negative thoughts when the word Africa is mentioned. They immediately think of Hunger, Drought, Corruption, Poor Children and War.
For me Africa has many qualities and fond memories as this is the continent I grew up in.
Yes, it does have memories that are sad and unfortunate as I grew up in times that were most troublesome, but hopefully young generations of Africans will learn from the mistakes made by our forefathers and most importantly we need to be able to forgive and learn from the past.
But as a Chef, Africa and most importantly its food excites me as it is still so unknown to the western world.
South Africa now boasts 2 of the best restaurants in the world according to the S.Pellegrino listings, but I am more excited byEthiopia, which was civilised before the time of Christ, where the queen of Sheba once ruled.
The open aired market ofAddis Ababais the largest and most exciting in all of Africa for the exploring chef.
Here women make Injera, a unleavened bread, prepared today as it was two thousand years ago.
Kitfo, a Ethiopian ‘Steak Tartar’ was being served before the French even ate off tables, and I love Doro Wat, a chicken stew, Sega Wat a Ethiopian Lamb dish to mention a few.
Zanzibar, the Spice Islandand its M’Chuzi wa Nyama and beef Curry.
Mozambique, a food lovers paradise with Prawn Piri Piri, Clam and peanut stew and my all time favourite Frango a Cafrial a Barbecued Chicken dish.
Eritrean Kicha Fit Fit served with a scoop of fresh yoghurt and berbere.
North African cuisine encompasses Morocco, Algeria, Libya Mauritania all so diverse with roots to cuisine that can be traced back over 2,500 years; Southern Africa, Home of Rainbow Cuisine, East Africa with its Arab and Portuguese influenced dishes and West Africa with its dishes of Yams, Coco yams, Cassava, Jollof Rice and Sweet Potato.
Africa is not for me the Dark Continent, but a continent that is so misunderstood by those who do not know it.Africa is where I have met the most caring and beautiful people, where I have enjoyed the most amazing meals, the most welcoming smiles and breathtaking landscapes.
It is so easy to find faults and have something negative to say. It is because most of what we hear and see in the press today is about negative reports, rather than the positive side of life. All our continents have challenges, no more or no less than Africa. Yes, war and drought have caused so much pain and suffering as have war and natural disasters in other parts of the world.
For me Africa is beautiful, exciting and welcoming.
“Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”
Lord, bless Africa
May her horn rise high up
Hear Thou our prayers And bless us.
Descend, O Spirit,
Descend, O Holy Spirit.