Chakalaka and wors in London – Mzansi-style

2012-08-11 07:56

There is pap, chakalaka, boerewors and steak – done Mzansi-style – in London.

You’ll find it at the Ekhaya hospitality centre along the River Thames.

“It’s a partnership – we talked to the High Commission, the embassy and involved our sister departments from arts and culture to tourism,” said sports deputy minister Gert Oosthuizen while sipping on his ice-cold Castle Lager, another proudly South African offering, this week.

The occasion was to honour Team SA’s medallists at the Olympic Games.

The winners – swimmers Chad le Clos (gold and silver), Cameron van der Burgh (gold) and the rowing quartet of Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith, Matthew Brittain and James Thompson (gold) – were offered the chance to interact with fans who had descended on Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The supporters where mostly South Africans living in London, among them Ben Tigedi who hails from Moruleng in Rustenburg and has been working as a nurse in the UK for over a decade.

“I think this is a nice idea but I believe it can make a big impact if the set-up was outdoors. We (South Africans) enjoy our beer and braai outdoors,” he said.

Tigedi was accompanied by his wife and two daughters, all in rainbow-nation regalia.

“My kids were so happy to pose for pictures with our national heroes.”

Another South African Londoner, William Chauke, said: “The place offers a nice get-together because it was also how I met my cousin whom I had not seen for nearly 17 years.”

Jason and Annabelle Lee, a couple from Jersey, a UK island, said they were posing for pictures with the arts and crafts that were displayed on the exhibition floor.

“The place looks very colourful and it drew our attention. We are enjoying the vibe.”

The two didn’t get a taste of Mzansi delicacies such as boerewors and chakalaka.

The man who did, one Marcos from Brazil – a bartender at the function – twisted his tongue trying to pronounce “wors”.

“Yah, it tastes nice and spicy but I don’t know how to say it.”

Ekhaya also offered entertainment by, among others, Thandisa Mazwai, Vusi Mahlasela and comedian Joey Rasdien.

Said the show curator Aubrey Sekgabi: “The response has been positive with lots of people coming to our shows. Entry is free to all our shows.”

The only letdown was a picture of an Australian cyclist displayed on a backdrop banner at the entrance to the braai.

It was supposed to represent a South African athlete and was subsequently taken down.

Oosthuizen could not say how much the Ekhaya centre in London had cost.

“Up until the end of the Paralympics (on September 9) we will be able to release the numbers of people who had visited Ekhaya from the time of the Olympics – and the Paralympics. And we’ll be able to follow up on the contact,” he said.

Ekhaya was officially opened by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula two days before the Olympics opening ceremony on July 27.

» Follow us on Twitter: @DanieMothowagae and @City_Press


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