One of the most colourful neighbourhoods in Cape Town is Bo-Kaap. It has traditionally been the home of the Cape Malays – descendants of slaves and traders originating from the East Indies (now Indonesia). The oldest house in the area was built in 1760s but the community has its origins all the way back in the mid 17th Century.
Most were (and still are) Muslim, hence the high concentration of mosques on the block. Despite this, there did not seem to be much tension based on religion. Talking to locals and going by the nightly news, South Africans are much more concerned about the state of their government than differences in religion.
The Cape Malays brought with them their culture and food – so much so in Cape Town that today many South African national dishes are quite heavily spiced, and popular with all South Africans, regardless of race. I sampled some of the food while in town, and generally liked what I ate, I must say that they are very different to any Indonesian/Malaysian/Indian or Malaysian dishes that I know. And yes, the samosas (or samoosas as the South Africans call them) are good.
Nowadays, South Africa is a country of immigrants, especially from other parts of Africa. One community represented are the Ethiopians.
We had a taste of Ethiopian food one night. It’s certainly a different way of eating!
The spicing is rather unique, I thought – they seem to use quite a bit of cardamon in their savoury food. Their way of taking coffee was also unique. I’ve never heard of popcorn as an accompaniment!