Why Cooking with Indigenous Ingredients Matters ft. Plated Poetry

Chef, explorer, and storyteller Kudzai Bingepinge – Sithole, also known as Plated Poetry, joins us in this video to discuss the value of using local resources while cooking in front of the famous Njelele spiritual sanctuary. Eland/Beef, Howa/Amakhowa (mushrooms), Umfushwa/Mufushwa (dried vegetables), Amasese (sorghum beer), Intolwane/Ndorani, Zumbani/Umsuzwane (Lippae Javanica), and Finger Millet Malt are the main ingredients in the culinary adventure. The meat is a significant aspect of Khoisan culture because of its healing potency and power; A phenomenon they term “N/UM,” which ironically is the name of Plated Poetry’s gourmet African salt brand. This meal is a metaphor for Njelele and its cultural influences.   The dish’s components are mixed to offer an intriguing aspect about the value of using locally grown food and recognising the significance of spiritual sites like Njelele, a hill that is brimming with history, legends, and life. We were able to relish the variety of our ingredients and admire the beauty of our nation thanks to the patience of our food taster and tour leader, Mr. Dube from the Amagugu International Heritage Centre.

Despite our mutual amazement, we concur that showcasing our various cuisine traditions requires the use of local ingredients. With Mr. Dube patiently guiding us through this spiritually significant site, it was not lost on us that a deeper message was being conveyed. One that spoke of memory. Memory that resides collectively within us, the memory of all those who came before us. That they over millennia have contributed to the very culture we embrace today and that we are obliged to contribute to it further. Our culture and tradition is not static, it evolves as we add our portion and should continue to. The dish we made was not conventional, but it built on generations of innovation – One only needed to see the look of joy on Mr. Dube’s face as he tasted it to know that we had honoured the collective memory and created a new one….and they approved.

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