What is your Heritage?

Heritage Month is celebrated annually in September in South Africa.

Heritage Day on the 24th of September in particular is celebrated annually to mark our nation’s diverse culture and heritage. This year we got to celebrate a little different to normal, but after experiencing the last 6 months behind a mask, how does one define normal?

At Tower Group we have used Heritage month to foster a greater social cohesion, team building and a shared national identity. 60 + employees came together in their respective regions to dress up with pride, share food around a table and exchange stories through our own culture and experiences. 60 + diverse individuals each with their own story and Heritage that they continue within their own families daily, creating a conducive environment for all people to embrace and celebrate what was inherited or bequeathed to us by our forebears.

Heritage Month recognises aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and intangible: creative expression such as music and performances, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the popular memory. Working with a diverse group has opened up our cultural knowledge and expanded our horizons as to what we know about each of our cultures.

Whether you’re a “Sawubona” , “Goeie More”, “Heita”, “Howzit”, “Aweh”, “Sharp Fede” or a “Hello” frequent user, South Africans will understand you and welcome you with a smile! Even though many South Africans speak English, that doesn’t mean you’ll always understand us. With a lot of local slang, South African English has a flavour of its own, borrowing from Afrikaans as well as the country’s many African languages.

Heritage food and the revival of old recipes is big global news at the moment… and our country is simply brimming with heritage. South Africa’s diversity – and love for indigenous ingredients, of course – this means that each part of the country bears evidence of its own type of traditional cuisine. We took advantage of this for Heritage Day and we shared meals from each of our own family’s traditions.

Do you recognise any of the traditional South African dishes below?

Amanqina – Chicken feet, Cow feet, Pig feet, Lamb feet and Sheep feet, usually consumed with Pap or as a delicacy. When cooking you just add water and salt.

Amasi – Fermented milk.

Biltong – A salty dried meat (typically seasoned with coriander seeds and salt) although the meat used is most commonly beef different variants also exist such as springbok, kudu, eland, chicken and ostrich.

Bobotie – A dish of Malay descent, is like meatloaf with raisins and with baked egg on top, and is often served with yellow rice, sambals, coconut, banana slices, and chutney.

Boerewors – A sausage that is traditionally braaied (barbecued).

Bunny chow – Curry stuffed into a hollowed-out loaf of bread

Chakalaka – A spicy South African vegetable relish.

Chutney, or blatjang – A sweet sauce made from fruit that is usually poured on meat.

Dombolo – Flour bread usually made steamed in a pot.

Frikkadelle – Meatballs.

Gatsby – Food mainly popular in Cape Town, comes in the form of a long roll with fillings of anything ranging from polony to chicken or steak and hot chips.

Hertzoggie – A tartlet with an apricot jam filling and desiccated coconut meringue topping.

Koeksisters – Afrikaans koeksisters are twisted pastries, deep-fried and heavily sweetened. Koeksisters found on the Cape Flats are sweet and spicy, shaped like large eggs, and deep-fried.

Malva pudding – A sweet spongy apricot pudding of Dutch origin.

Melktert (milk tart) – A milk-based tart or dessert.

Mealie-bread – A sweet bread baked with sweetcorn.

Mielie-meal – One of the staple foods, often used in baking but predominantly cooked into pap or phutu.

Pampoenkoekies (pumpkin fritters) – Flour has been supplemented with or replaced by pumpkin. Some variants of the “Pampoenkoekie” are, among other, the “Patatkoekie” (Sweet potato fritter), “Aartappelkoekie” (potato fritter), “ryskoekie” (rice fritter), etc., where the pumpkin is replaced with either sweet potato or potato or rice. The name of the fritter being derived from the vegetable being used.

Potbrood (pot bread or boerbrood) – Savoury bread baked over coals in cast-iron pots.

Potjiekos – A traditional Afrikaans stew, made with meat and vegetables and cooked over coals in cast-iron pots.

Rooibos – A herbal tea that is indigenous to South Africa.

Rusks – A rectangular, hard, dry biscuit eaten after being dunked in tea or coffee; they are either home-baked or shop-bought (with the most popular brand being Ouma Rusks).

Samosa, or samoosa – Is a savoury stuffed Indian pastry that is fried.

Samp and beans – Comfort, creamy and delicious traditional Zulu meal.

Sosatie – Kebab, grilled marinated meat on a skewer.

Tomato bredie – A lamb and tomato stew.

Trotters and Beans – From the Cape, made from boiled pig’s or sheep’s trotters and onions and beans.

Umngqusho – A dish made from white maize and sugar beans, a staple food for the Xhosa people.

Umphokoqo – An African salad made of maize meal.

Umqombothi – A type of beer made from fermented maize and sorghum.

Vetkoek (fat cake, magwenya) – Deep-fried dough balls, typically stuffed with meat or served with snoek fish or jam.

Walkie Talkies – Grilled or deep-fried chicken feet and lamb’s head (also referred to as a ‘smiley’), most popular in townships and sold by street vendors, sometimes in industrial areas with high concentrations of workers.

Waterblommetjie bredie (water flower stew) – Meat stewed with the flower of the Cape Pondweed.

Watch the video below to see what the Tower Group teams got to feast on for Heritage Celebrations