Renowned cookbook author and chef Dorah Sitole will be laid to rest at the Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg on Friday.
Sitole succumbed to the Covid-19 coronavirus at a Johannesburg hospital on Sunday night. She was 67.
Close family and friends will pay their tributes to the culinary doyenne at a private memorial service at the Rosebank Union Church at midday on Thursday.
Family spokesperson Collen Sitole told City Press that the memorial service would be streamed live for fans and others who would be restricted from attending because of Covid-19 regulations.
Collen revealed that Sitole took ill and tested positive for Covid-19 a week before Christmas.
“She was okay. She had her [book] launch. She was giving interviews and everything was fine until she picked up symptoms and everything went pear-shaped from there. She did the testing and discovered that she was positive, then her oxygen level started to drop,” Collen said.
“I was with her on December 15. She was the happiest person. She had just launched a book, which she had been planning to write after such a long time of not releasing anything.
“It’s a beautiful book. If you read that book, you will realise that seemingly she was writing her own obituary. The book is about her life – from where she started to how she got where she was.”
Sitole released her last book titled 40 years of Iconic Food in October last year. The book celebrates her 40 years of contributing unique African cuisine recipes to the culinary world.
“When you read that book, it brings you so much closer to her like you are in her space. She covers everything and the irony about it is that it was written during the hard lockdown. She was telling me that she knew that the lockdown was time for her to write that book because she had ample time,” Collen said.
Tributes from fans and industry colleagues painted a picture of a matriarch who oozed warmth and love through her work.
Celebrity chef Siba Mtongana said: “She was my voice of reason and mentor when I was frustrated with all the hurdles in the corporate world of media with all her wealth of knowledge and experience in the food media and publishing world … she paved a way for many black foodies and chefs we gave to this day.”
Actress Terry Pheto described Sitole as an inspiration.
“Deeply saddened by the passing of Mam’ Dorah Sitole. She was an inspiration to so many of us. What a great loss to the country and the culinary world.”
The former editor of True Love, Sitole was an author, African cuisine recipe developer and a trained Cordon Bleu chef.