Thursday, August 4, 2011
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