News / Africa

Mandela’s Chef Publishes Cook Book on Ukutya Kwasekhaya, Home Food

Nelson Mandela's personal cook Xoliswa Ndoyiya poses in Johannesburg after the release of her cookbook entitled "Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela's Kitchen" featuring the former South African President's favourite food, (File December 14, 201
Nelson Mandela's personal cook Xoliswa Ndoyiya poses in Johannesburg after the release of her cookbook entitled "Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela's Kitchen" featuring the former South African President's favourite food, (File December 14, 201

Have you ever wondered what’s being served in the kitchens of some of the world’s most prestigious people? Ever wanted to have dinner with a president?  Well South Africans may not be breaking bread with Nelson Mandela these days, but they now have the secrets of his favorite recipes.  His personal chef, Xoliswa Ndoyiya, has published a cookbook of meals she serves to the former president, his family and guests. 

“Now I am saying yes, there is a secret.  It is love," Ndoyiya explained. "I cook food with love.”

After two decades of being asked by members of the extended Mandela family and guests to Mandela’s home about her secret for preparing such delicious meals, Xoliswa or Xoli Ndoyiya has finally revealed it at the launch of her cookbook.

The title of the book, Ukutya Kwasekhaya - the isiXhosa phrase for home cooking - comes from her brief job interview  with Mandela in 1992, when he told her he had heard she was a good cook but wanted to know if she also cooked traditional food well.

“When Tata [Nelson Mandela] [asked] me, am I going to cook because he heard that I am a good cook, and I said yes, I am and I will cook for you Tata. I thought I was still going for another interview, but then it was just, you got the job, there and then,” Ndoyiya said.

isiXhosa is the language of the Xhosa people of the Eastern Cape Province, the home of both Mandela and Ndoyiya.  Ukutya Kwasekhaya is filled with recipes of typical South African food, such as boerewors, a spicy sausage; soup made from butternuts, an indigenous South Africa squash; and ginger beer, a non-alcoholic spicy, refreshing drink.

Also included are recipes for Jewish foods such as chicken liver spread and potatoe latkes; Italian pastas and Spanish paella.  And there are a number of Ndoyiya’s own creations, such as soy baked lamb chops, orange turkey, creamy chicken with Italian herbs, and peanut butter and spinach soup.

But the book is dominated by traditional Xhosa food such as amarhewu, a fermented maize drink; ulusi or tripe; umsilo wenkomo or oxtail stew; tshakalaka, a spicy relish; and, umfino, which is maize meal porridge with spinach.

Soon after she began to work for Mandela, he asked Ndoyiya if, in addition to being his chef, would she be willing to also undertake the day-to-day care of his grandchildren, whom he wanted to bring to live with him.  He told her he wanted to be able to spend lots of time with them, because he was in jail when his own children were growing up.  In a letter from Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, read by Mandela’s granddaughter Ndileka Mandela - the couple spoke of the close ties that had grown between the family and their chef.

“Xoli, our home is warm and welcoming because you have always been there," Ndileka said. "With a smile you treat our children as your sisters, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren with the love of a mother.  You welcome and serve all of our guests with distinction.”

Hlangenani Mandela, the elder statesman’s great grandson, told Ndoyiya the Mandela family is appreciative of the personal sacrifices she made to cook for the family and to take care of them.

“In short I would like to say thank you for the very many sacrifices you have given to our family, staying away from your children.  And I stand here looking across at my bigger brothers, your sons, that you’ve shared stories and how you would like to be around them and with them, instead you spent that time with us and the family.  So a very heartfelt thank you from me. I am sure I speak on behalf of the family in saying that we love and thank you very much. Siyabulela [isiXhosa: thank you for improving our lives] mama,” Hlangenani said.

Ndoyiya says she has wanted to write a cookbook for years, and is thrilled it has finally come to fruition.

You May Like

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid