Thursday, August 4, 2011


I guess this should really be a post for my 'Samp & Sushi' blog which is an emaciated little waif of a blog --- and some advice that Blackberried to me yesterday suggested I may just a few too many blogs... So: I'll 'hide' that one -- and if I am overcome by a desire to write about South African food -- I'll do it here, ok?

One of my favourite things is the juncture between culture, food and graphic-design/packaging : and exactly why I chose this packet of Ace porridge from the breakfast shelves in Pick 'n Pay! I certainly know more than a handful of South African who would reject it with scorn for the exact same reason I chose it: it's Africanness. How just looking at it amongst the rest of the Kelloggs and Bokomos tells you about a dry, dusty red road, and the long walk home, her groceries gracefully balanced upon her head, and slumbering toddler upon her back. It must be the unfettered absence of visual seduction: no strong cardboard boxing, or glossy, hallucinogenically gaudy graphics emboldened by brand ambassadors we can't say no to: the jean-size dropping, white leotarded brunette brandishing her tape-measure like an accusing snake, or the 'Mommy, I want ________' cartoon-lures.

For me, the Ace packaging makes me taste the maizey soulfulness of my gran's 'pap en wors'. It sings to me about the samp-and-beans of my schoolday afternoons. Perhaps, though, it is a reminder of poverty: your own? those whose less-ness terrifies you, or exhausts your nights with guilt? I know a few older South Africans who even struggled to digest the concept of cous-cous (pun unfortunately intended) : that it wasn't an 'African' food but an African food. (Do I need to explain that? Leave me a note in 'Comments' if I need to!)

(I've got a horrible boomerang cold, and a dramatically different toddler to entertain solo till 9pm - so best I conserve what brain and body energy I DO have!)

Liefde as altyd en vir ewig, my Suid Afrika,

'Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.' Albert Camus

1 comment:

Melanie Charlton said...

Oh my darling Lisa.
Just LOVED your last two blogs. The way you describe is so pertinent! You are so amazing. So, now you have internet access at home? We must skype please.
I know how you feel about home - the confusing, sad and frustrated mix of emotions. For me, home was both disappointing and exhilirating. It took me a while to adjust after 12 years apart. I think I was in 'first world mode' and I reckon if I were to return for good it would take me a good year or two to get into 'africa mode'. Lol! I am however really loving Australia. My only wish - for my friends and family to be closer.
Love you always,