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'We're trying to fix a broken identity, food must be included': Discovering local food culture

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Reclaim The Pantry is food-centred project by cultural activist Zayaan Khan. Khan is a cultural worker who seeks to explore the possibilities offered by localised food systems. (Photo: Parusha Naidoo/ Supplied)
Reclaim The Pantry is food-centred project by cultural activist Zayaan Khan. Khan is a cultural worker who seeks to explore the possibilities offered by localised food systems. (Photo: Parusha Naidoo/ Supplied)

Food and food cultures offer texture and foundation into who we are. They build connections that map cultural and historical timelines which can be used to trace our paths back to the beginning. However, colonisation, imperialism and locally apartheid have severely disrupted the nature of our tongues; affecting how we speak, cultivate language and develop eating cultures. Across South Africa, indigenous food activists have been working towards unearthing coordinates that can bring us closer towards our identities, by helping us reconnect with foods that memory has forgotten.

"There’s so much that goes unsaid, so much left out of the history books, so much that doesn’t get taught…. Apartheid created borders that cut people off from their food systems… One of the first things is around acknowledgement, and releasing that history into something that’s common knowledge, so that when we are walking in the spaces we do… we understand the kind of legacy these spaces hold."

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