‘Bra, that pink pork stuff looks scary’

Township neophytes at the German Beer Fest escaped a pork knuckle dish by smuggling in some fried chicken.

Clad in an orange worker jumpsuit and a backpack, Tshepo Phiri from Mamelodi grins when asked where he bought the chicken he was boasting with at a table heaped with traditional German food.

“Ah, bra, that pink pork stuff looks scary, man. I had to smuggle something in,” he says.

It’s his second visit to the annual Oktoberfest held at the Deutsche Schule Pretoria (German School Pretoria).

The festivities used to attract friends and families of the school’s alumni, and members of the local German community. It has since started bringing in people from all over the beer-loving corners of Gauteng and beyond.

Chicken-smuggling Tshepo is one of them. It makes sense: Oktoberfest has the largest brew variety out there.

There are the major German brewers in a series of smaller tents or beer gardens that compete with the local lagers such as Castle and Hansa Pilsener for Tshepo’s heart.

The highly diversified frothy drinks include the bitter Guinness lager, light brews and even honey brews sold in assorted mugs. R60 gets you 500ml in a clay mug to keep; double that for a litre. Refills cost R15 to R20 per round.

Sold at food stands are sometimes salty pretzels, the knotted bread that turns beer drinking into a pleasurable sin.

The main meals include Eisbein, mash and Sauerkraut, pork knuckle with mash potatoes and cabbage. Then there’s Würstchen and Kartoffelsalat (sausage with potato salad) among other German foods on offer.

The main marquee, which can sit about a thousand table-banging thirsty guzzlers, also houses the oompah band brought in straight from Germany. The traditional 13-piece outfit is called the Frankenland-Gädheim.

They share a dress sense with some die-hard patrons, the traditional German wear that’s part of the jamboree’s spectacle.

Some women wore the traditional laced bodices – with a global reputation for their push-up effect.

The men wore black or brown lederhosen (leather breeches) with thick woollen socks and a pair of scary boots.

For the likes of Tshepo, there’s the feathered alpine hat sold to enthusiastic beer fans.

Along with the clay mug, it made for a comical souvenir.


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