‘Best shisa nyama in town’

2013-09-21 00:00

MAKE sure you braai in style on Heritage Day. The traditional shisa nyama (braai) that occurs in the townships has a colourful history.

Butchers found that women were buying their meat from the supermarket chainstores in town, and not buying the braai cuts at the township butcheries.

To stimulate trade they started cooking the meat outside their shops on top of home-style half drums with coals and wire mesh. These impromptu braais became social gathering places as few people could resist the smell of meat on the fire.

The fire, the smell of sizzling meat and of course a beer or two makes for a convivial atmosphere and these informal eating places became known in the kasi (township) as “shisa nyama” (braai the meat).

As Heritage Day dawns next week, many will take this opportunity to haul out their braai and invite their friends over for a social.

The larneys will do it in style with their Weber and Jack Daniels and others will “gooi tjops” on their 2x4 job and chill next to the dam with a few fishing rods and a cooler box.

But Bongani Mhlongo, owner of 033 Lifestyle, assures us that he will have the best shisa nyama in Pietermaritzburg.

His establishment offers meat, carwash, music, a bar and you can even get you hair cut by the friendly barber. Security guards patrol the place to make sure there is no trouble and it is a well known recreational place in Imbali.

Mhlongo set up his place three years ago when he came back from Jozi. His idea was to offer the typical shisa nyama with a difference.

He said: “The idea is that when the guys come to have their cars washed they get a bit hungry and they order some meat and then they might decide to have their hair cut. They will spot a friend and have a beer and enjoy the music. They might strike a business deal while they are here and they will pass a few hours here having a good time.

“That is why we call it 033 Lifestyle, because we want people to come here for enjoyment.”

The bar has a luxury lounge area for VIPs and Mhlongo says that he is already getting bookings for Christmas parties.

While one will find the typical steak and wors on the braai, you might look askance at the kidneys or liver that make up a typical shisa nyama.

“We braai these bits and we serve the meat with pap and chakalaka.”

The braaied meat is served on a wooden platter with a knife and everyone cuts off pieces and shares.

If you have a yearning to enjoy a piece of meat on Heritage Day you know where to go … may the wors be with you!

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