Promoting heritage through indigenous food

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As part of promoting heritage in South Africa, the DAC partnered with the Department of Basic Education to initiate an indigenous foods recipe book project. Funding for the project was sourced from the MGE budget, and it was implemented by the Indiza Women’s Co-operative.


The aim of the book is to document indigenous food and drinks of the Khoi-, siPedi-, seTsonga-, siSwati-, siNdebele-, tshiVenda-, seTswana-, seSotho-, Zulu- and Afrikaans-speaking communities.

Some of the African menus at the event

picture: Some of the African menus at the event

The project was aimed at promoting the cultivation and raise awareness of indigenous food, and educating South Africans about its nutritional and medicinal benefits;

  • aiding the transfer of knowledge and skills from the older generation, who are experts in indigenous cuisine, to the young;
  • promoting healthy eating habits and  changing negative perceptions of  indigenous foods;
  • highlighting the untapped socio-economic benefits of indigenous food;
  • promoting indigenous foods locally and internationally, particular to the hospitality and tourism industry, through a recipe book.


The DBE helped identify rural schools that offer consumer studies as a subject. To avoid interrupting teaching and learning, the project was implemented over weekends.

Twelve schools were identified throughout the country. Consumer studies teachers identified ten women to prepare different indigenous dishes. The meals prepared consisted of starch, protein, vegetables, desserts and beverages. Consumer studies learners assisted with the food preparations and display. One winner was chosen to represent indigenous food dishes located within her cultural group.

picture: Winners of the Competition

Women who were chosen as the winners from their cultural groups and provinces participated in the finals on May 12, 2013 at AB Phokompe High School in Mohlakeng, Randfontein. Ms Lizbeth Malaza, a connoisseur of Ndelebe cuisine, was chosen as the overall winner. The first runner-up was Ms Eunice Malungane who prepares traiditional Xitsonga dishes, and the second runner-up was Ms Nonthetho Sebenzi’s for her selection of isiXhosa meals.