Travelling on the R2, a road which connects several towns and cities across Zimbabwe (Bulawayo to Harare, Bulawayo to Plumtree, Plumtree to Mutare via Gweru), we embarked on a journey to learn more about Kalanga Food and the uniqueness of their culture on a wider scale. Mabuyani, which means hello in TjiKalanga, became our greeting anthem as we left the City of Bulawayo. Our tour guide and driver for this trip was Jeffrey Nleya, who grew up in Malalume and is very much passionate about rural area tourism. Jeffrey employed ‘routine ‘banter and whirlwind efficiency gleaned from years of travelling across Zimbabwe, which made our travelling easy. At MMMC, we believe that Zimbabwe is packed with places you must visit and things you must see, like the beauty of Malandume, which is now known in a corrupted-form as Malalume. Our travelling vehicle was a Land Cruiser provided by our partners at Elgiboh Travel Agency and Tours.
As a show that believes in the concept of Minimalism, our travelling itinerary included minimal food in the form of snacks, shooting gear to personal belongings for the crew members. In African Culture, one cannot just travel to a place and not bring something for the host. In this regard, we kindly got a small token of appreciation for our host family; The Nleyas (Ndazi). Our initial satisfactory bonus, was arriving in Malandume with ample time to enjoy the afternoon gazing over a quite marsh, sundowners (Busuku beer) at the ready.
It was our desire to see the beauty of Malandume from the food to the fascinating tales of the rock art paintings left by the San people. Our desire was to see this rock art and draw parallels or similarities with the rock art we’ve seen in Matobo region (35km from the City of Bulawayo). With the hot sub blazing in the area, the crew had to take shot naps (even during shoot sites-talk about the love for filmmaking!). We had Hadza (made from pearl millet) and Mahonja for lunch, and headed out to explore the area. In terms of the rock art sites, we’d given up for searching for these important artefacts. After a long hot and dusty day of filming ‘The Taste of Kalanga Food’ Documentary, Jeffrey spotted the mountain which had the rock arts, as we were travelling back to our base. We were thrilled on what we saw, and shows the drawing within the San community had a purpose and captured certain values and certain values and attitudes within their culture. Their art came with certain attributes namely; aesthetics, functionality and meaning. One important functionality trait was how the San interacted with their animals.
After a long day of shooting, for dinner we were served with a meal of Hadza and Tjihwabha. I must say, that so far, this has been the best biltong I’ve experienced. Considering the long travels, we felt a bit motivated ourselves. That day we’d driven across Bulilima, learnt the beauty of Kalanga Culture and experienced great habitation in the area. If you want to discover the true crasftmanship behind authentic food, the area of Malalume offers this with delicacies like; Homu (Amarula Fruit Seed), Gwisa (Pearl Millet), Makomo (Baboab), Matamba (Umkhemeswane(, Ntungulu (Plum), Huku (Chicken), Mpudzi (Goat Meat), and Bususu (Porridge) to note but a few. On the activities, there are rock mountain climbings activities such as a hike to the famous Dombongulu Mountain and several other mountains with beautiful views and scenery. At the end of a jam packed 73 hours, the lure of Busukwa (Opaque Beer) and Tjihwabha (Biltong) and crackling log fires was a sweet ending in documenting a beautiful culture. ‘Malandume-Taboka.’