Saturday, September 22, 2007
S A Barbecue day in Accra
A SLICE of contemporary South African Culture will be played out in Accra tomorrow as citizens of the rainbow nation in Ghana gather to celebrate Heritage. Day and also partake in the favourite South African social custom tagged ‘Braai’.
Heritage Day marked every September 24, is a national holiday that recognizes both tangible and difficult to pin down aspects of South African culture: creative expression, historical inheritance, language the food they eat as well as the land in which they live. Within a broader social and political context, Heritage Day events are regarded as very useful means of promulgating a South African identity fostering reconciliation and promoting the notion that variety is a national asset and not a tool for igniting conflict.
Dr. Ben Ngumane, a former South African Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology once described Heritage Day as a celebration which demonstrates the extraordinary richness of the South African social fabric”. In 2005 a media campaign sought to re-brand the holiday as National Braai day in recognition of the South African tradition of holding informal backyard barbecues or Braais.
The word ‘braai’ is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “roast” and is a social event in South Africa. It originated with the Afrikaner people, but has since been adopted by South Africans of various ethnic backgrounds.
On September 5, 2007, Archbishop Desmontd Tutu celebrated his appointment as patron of South Africa’s Braai Day, affirming it to be a unifying force in a divided country.
The Braai is usually a casual and laid-back social occasion where family and friends converge on a picnic spot or someone’s home, normally the garden or verandah, with their own meat, salad, or side dish in hand. Meat is the star of the South African Braai. It is presented in various forms for the occasion including kebabs marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, sausages of different flavours and thickness Fish is also popular in coastal areas.
In recent years the humorous term “Braai the beloved country” has come into use as a reflection of the central position of the Braai in South Africa Culture. This is a pun, and refers to the Alan Paton Novel, and subsequent films. Cry, the Beloved Country famous for its anti-apartheid message. The musical group, Dic Menere, have written a song with the same name, singing abut how a braai makes all depression go away.
As South Africans in Ghana converge on Akosombo Road, Airport Residential Area in Accra for braai and an address on the flip side, the atmosphere will definitely come alive with chit-chat, laughter and home-grown music that all point to a nation determined to move ahead, firmly holding on to its cherished customs.
Daily Graphic - Saturday, September 22, 2007 Page: 20