Let’s go back to the beginning of the first renaissance. Constantinople had just been trounced by Mohammed II – it was the 29th of May 1453. At around the same time the 100 years war of the Brits ended in France where it was, sensibly, held and the War of the Roses came to an end. America had been discovered a hundred years earlier on the 12th of October 1452. France lost its independence but Flanders didn’t and thus began the beginning of the new, The Rebirth. There was a cross cultural exchange as had never been acknowledged before and there was feeling of energy. Everyone wasn’t happy, some were miserable and many threatened to emigrate somewhere – anywhere – just escape the inevitable. Against all odds and all previous predictions by the brilliant minds of the time, the economy changed and politics started changing because the people just went ahead and did it.
The South Africans returned to humanity in 1994 when we became independent and the little flame that initiates such energy was lit. We voted, all of us together, for the first time. Everyone wasn’t happy, some were miserable and many threatened to emigrate somewhere, anywhere – just escape the inevitable. Against all odds and all previous predictions by the brilliant minds of the time, the economy changed and politics started changing because the people just went ahead and did it.
And the cross cultural exchange began. Food, also here, became the domain of all of us and after a while we happily accepted recipes and ideas, introduced new things to our families and had real conversations. Simultaneously we began to receive more products from Europe and Asia and America, since they would not let us have any before when we lived in our own dark ages. A new industry was born, a passion was re-ignited.
I am no scientist, nor do I purport to be one. I just love food – everything about it. It is, for me, the beginning of everything and the end of everything. It brings honesty and, now and again, elicits comment – gentle, purring, loving comment sometimes, yet often loud and filled with passion but always, always full of emotion and honest. One could wax lyrical about the possibilities we have to create a foodie industry that surpasses the best that Europe could offer (since everything they have, already forms part of our culture) and we just need to add … and add …. and add. I love food in all it’s forms and never ever grow tired of talking about it, writing about it, reading about it – and best of all, eating it.
Let’s hope our African renaissance brings with it new ideas, new recipes, new discussions and new agreement. More than anything, for the sake of our food, we need consensus. So let’s begin right here.