ARTS & CULTURE

Mahlangu Revels in Book Award Nomination

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STAFF WRITER

LUPANE University food science lecturer, Makhosi Mahlangu believes the nomination of his book, Our Food, Our Heritage, Our Culture in the 2021 Bulawayo Arts Awards will put his African food revolution on a higher pedestal.

The book was nominated for the non fiction literary award of this year’s BAA alongside Obert Dube’s Lupane and Spell of my Pigment by Thabitha Williams and Tapiwanashe Pamacheche.

Mahlangu was inspired to write the book following his sojourns in Italy where he was studying.

At the time he came to the realisation that African food systems were on the periphery of the world food systems hence his decision to document traditional meals and how they are prepared.

Mahlangu’s book chronicles Nguni food systems and is aimed at bringing local food into the mainstream world food industry.

“Being nominated shows we are on the right path and it gives us motivation as we pursue our aim of promoting local food systems,” said Mahlangu.

“Its life changing that we have a book on traditional food   getting such recognition. Winning will obviously give us the motivation in our efforts to promote African food”

He said he received the news of the nomination with ecstasy as it gave him belief that his long held dream of taking umxhanxa to the world and making it a global meal is nearing.

He dedicated the nomination to the ordinary people he has worked with in Lupane and Nkayi as he pursues the revolution that he hopes food such as amaqebelengwane can be available on the international menu just like pizza.

As part of efforts to take local food to international tables, this year, he worked on an online food conference which included American Navajo Chef Freddie Bitsoei, Kenyan leading Chef, Rubia Zablon and Zimbabwe’s number one Chef,  Mudikanwi Mizpah.

He also made a presentation at the Navajo Technical University in New Mexico talking about Traditional African Food with reference to umxhanxa, ihiqa and isinkwa somfahla. 

“It’s funny how Native Americans share the same traditions as us.

“I have also been traveling around villages teaching people food preparation methods using a hybrid process involving traditional Italian processing techniques and traditional African processing techniques with reference to the Ndebele,” he said.

He said they are organising what they envisage to be one of the biggest food festivals in the world and Isinkwa Somfahla will be used as a reference to African Cooking. 

“We will be challenging the Nigerians and Senegalese soon in indigenous foods because we have so much. Remember the food that we eat has been heavily influenced by migration and the book talks about all this. Moving from KZN and embracing numerous food cultures. We are a revolution to the palate

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