Proudly South African post ahead! September is South African Tourism month, and Heritage Day is on the 24th, so amidst the country’s troubles, we take the time this month to celebrate the great things about our home.
To be honest, Dean and I plan our move overseas almost daily. If we could, we would go over to either England or Ireland. Whichever would have us first.
We’re constantly looking at cheap flights to London, as well as to other places, and dreaming of the day we can book them, pack our bags and at least go off to spend some time in a different country. So many of our friends and acquaintances are doing the same, unfortunately.
I know, though, that when the day comes that we do leave, there are SO many things that we’d miss about our home. Here are but a few:
South African Food
Speak to any Saffa who has left the country and they are likely to tell you the food is what they miss. Most people say braai meat and biltong, but I’m not really a huge fan of either, only eating them when they’re given to me. But the following food items I will truly miss.
Most of these you CAN get in London, either by making it yourself, or order from the South African shop UK, but they’re not readily available and I’m not entirely convinced they’ll be the same up there.
This is definitely my go-to dessert. If we are having people over, we usually have a milktart ready. If we are going to a braai, we often take a milktart as a gift. It’s one of the cheaper desserts you can find in the shops, and it works for any occasion.
I remember my great-gran making the most delicious milktart when I was really young. I never had the chance to learn from her, so if we had to leave I would need to learn how to make it real fast. But we’d miss out on all the wonderful milktart flavoured things. Milkshakes, puddings, alcoholic shots. Milktarts are more than just tarts. They’re a way of life.
I actually only recently learnt how to make this. I’m not sure how, but it seems to be more of a Cape Town thing than a Durban thing. I suppose I could make this wherever I am, but there wouldn’t likely be those amazing Royco cook-in sauces to help me out… And is it even the same without Tastic rice??
No matter who are, where you live, or what time you have your supper, nothing beats Ouma rusks dipped in your tea/coffee/Milo before bed. Or for breakfast. Or lunch. Or when it’s raining. You get the picture.
Ok, so truth be told I don’t even eat these anymore. Something about the orange cheesiness that puts me off. But Dean eats them like they’re going to give him superpowers, and I’d miss just having them around. I can’t imagine walking down the chip aisle and not seeing the Nik Nak dude smiling at me… it would just be weird.
Another favourite from childhood. I really wish I could make these as well. I am talking about the twisty, sweet, syrupy koeksisters here, but the cape Malay ones are also great.
I don’t eat vetkoek enough. I think I’m just too lazy to make it, and we don’t often get around to buying already made. But the point is that we can. If we are really craving vetkoek, we can run to the cafe and order a vetkoek and mince, or a vetkoek and cheese (yum!). And if we’re feeling energetic, we can run to Spar and buy the ready-made vetkoek and fill it with our own mince/cheese/apricot jam.
South African Drinks
Again, these items are available from the South African shop. But these are the drinks I’d miss on my shopping trip in London.
Only while writing this post did I learn that this is a South African drink (I know, I need to learn these things). I drink Hunters almost everytime I go out. In restaurants, bars, if we’re going to a braai. It’s an easy drink and it’s been my go-to since I started drinking (at 18, of course). So what does London have for me to drink that comes close?
Will the bars stock Hunters? Could I order from the South African shop and bring my own? No really, I need to know this. If you’re in London, in a pub or restaurant, can you ask the waiter if they have Hunters? Thanks!
My first ever glass of wine was a Four Cousins Natural Sweet. Now, I live in Cape Town so I try a new wine every week, but in Durban wine isn’t that big of a deal and we’d ONLY drink FC. I’d definitely miss being able to grab a bottle at the local liquor store on our way to friends.
Amarula coffee, Amarula milkshake, Amarula hot chocolate, over ice cream, in cakes. Over ice, as a shot, plain. There’s no bad way to have Amarula, and it’s become a Christmas traditional drink. Guess we’d have to stock up if we made our way over to London for a white Christmas.
Who doesn’t love Steri Stumpie?! The only thing Saffas are really divided on when it comes to Stumpies is what flavour is the best. Bubblegum, Banana and Coffee have my heart, while Dean is more of a Strawberry and/or Chocolate lover. Either way, Steri Stumpie is a South African favourite in most homes.
A Proudly South African Lifestyle
Aside from edibles, there are so many things that this country has to offer, which is why I get so sad when the politics and state of living force us to look at alternatives. I could end up living in the most amazing country and still miss all of these:
South African Weather
Firstly, we don’t have to worry about hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis or blizzards. We barely have to worry about tornadoes. Our winters are mild compared to the UK, and we get as excited as little kids when we hear that it snowed anything less than 30km from where we live. Most of the time we get just enough rain and more than enough sunshine, and while the wind in Cape Town annoys me to no end, we have fair conditions more often than not.
We all pretty much agree that what we hear of London – grey, wet and cold – makes us want to bottle up SA’s weather and take it with us.
Yep, I’m a Capetonian now, and that means that I can only tell if I’m going in the right direction by looking at which side of Table Mountain I am on. Not only will this great big cuddly rock be missed sorely by me, but the cape mountains surrounding us will as well. The great open spaces, the green and brown hills.
Even the dusty sand dunes will be hard to say goodbye to. We as South Africans are lucky in that, even our cities have a large amount of open space and magnificent landscape views.
Does London have any wildlife? I’m not sure but I can guess that it’s nothing compared to ours. From the game farms within driving distance to the baboons along the N1, the monkeys that lived among us in Durban, the crocodile parks, lion parks and other animal sanctuaries. I get so excited when I see squirrels in the wild because I don’t see them often, I can’t imagine going long periods of time without seeing a single wild animal.
We live close to Koeberg Nature Reserve, where we can literally go and walk passed springbok, zebra and other bucks. I should use that opportunity more often.
I think of places like the V&A waterfront, Monte Casino, Durban’s beachfront, and the amazingly diverse cultures that you find displayed in those areas. Then I think of how in one space you can find people from Zulu tribes, Khoi san decent, Afrikaans dorpies and they all live and work together. Learning from other cultures, discovering the differences and what they have in common, is all part of being a South Africa.
Yeah, I may be biased but I feel like we have a pretty neutral accent. Most of us anyhow. And going from that to the British accent would be so HARD. I’d also miss hearing things like “HOWZIT” (I was wondering today if that actually means “hi” or “how are you”), “Ja Ma” (Best way to get your significant other/mother/friend/boss to stop nagging) “Lekker” (definite approval) “Bru” (In jhb, cpt AND dbn accents).
I think, most of all, I’d miss the South African friendliness and humour. We are so good at finding humour in what would otherwise be really dark, depressing times. Whenever we are faced with hardship, we react in one of 2 ways; we either keep calm, carry on and find a way to laugh about it, OR we stand together and fight it.
I also don’t find British humour very funny, so that may be a problem. I’d have to watch Youtube videos of our comedians, and follow Nandos campaign ads every day to get some good old SA humour.
Have you thought about relocating? We know so many people who are leaving the country in search of more stable lives, with lower petrol prices. Where would you go? Would you consider London? What do you think you’d miss the most from South Africa?
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Travelstart. All views expressed are my own and were in no way influenced by anyone else.