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My name is Helena McKendrick, I am a Middle Grades education major in the Honors College at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. I have always had a passion for educating others, and working with children. In the future, I hope to become a middle school science teacher! I traveled to South Africa as a study abroad experience for the first time last May with Embrace SA Tours, and it was life-changing! We journeyed to the top of Table Mountain, hiked around the Cape of Good Hope, rode bicycles along the Cape Town waterfront, explored caves in the Cradle of Humankind, and so much more! While these experiences touring the beautiful landscapes of Cape Town and Johannesburg were breathtaking, some of the most memorable moments were during our visits to local schools and community centers. One day, my group and I volunteered with H.E.L.P. Ministries Soup Kitchen, where we helped to make soup, and delivered it to students in nearby schools. We also spent time with the students and faculty of Nederburg Primary School in Paarl, South Africa. As a future teacher, I truly valued the experience of meeting students and seeing in another country. Speaking with South African teachers, and receiving advice from them, was incredible and gave me a new perspective on the field of education. I am so excited and grateful to have the opportunity to return to South Africa this coming May, 2019! I cannot wait to further immerse myself in the South African culture, and spend more time with the friendly faces I met during my last trip. Can’t wait to see you soon! Best, Helena McKendrick
Deon Kitching from Embrace South Africa Tours and Pat Henderson from the NTA and FTA.It was great fun and interesting to show Pat around as guest of Embrace South Africa Tours. I asked Pat to jot down a few memories of the country, his experiences and the work of Embrace South Africa tours. This is what he has to say…
Cable Car ride to the top of Table MountainI cannot imagine working with a better company than Embrace South Africa Tours. It was my first time of being in South Africa, and everything was very well organized. Over the course of my week, I got to experience so many different aspects of culture and local life. For every mainstream tourist attraction we saw there was a local hidden gem we also visited.
South African ladies wearing modern traditional fashion to churchIn addition to doing a wine tasting at South Africa’s oldest winery and hearing the history of District Six from a former resident, I also got to sample local fish al fresca overlooking scenic Hout Bay and take part in a volunteer for a day program at a Cheetah Sanctuary.
Sometimes Pat became overwhelmed by all the wine-tastings!This mixture gave me a broader perspective on the Cape Town area and its fascinating history and heritage, and my experience just wouldn’t have been so rich if I’d worked with another tour company.
The Atlantic Ocean from Table MountainEmbrace South Africa Tours provided me with a wonderful introduction to the Cape Town area. My experience was highly localized, and I really enjoyed the different activities and tours that Deon and his staff set up for me. It was a good combination of hitting the highlights — Table Mountain, Robbin Island, the penguins at Boulders Beach, the Cape of Good Hope —along with many opportunities to meet and talk with the people. Having a chance to hear from locals gave me a better sense of the area’s life, culture and history. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Cape Town is such a beautiful, vibrant city!
Meeting local people and talking about Ohio!Deon is a very thoughtful person, and that really showed through in how he’d set up the tour components for my visit to the Cape Town area. There were many things we did that helped connect me with local culture through local people, and that made my visit more meaningful.
Meeting with church leaders and HIV/Aids activistsFor instance, one Sunday we went to worship at a church in one of the townships, which also included getting to meet and talk with two of the leaders about outreach ministries they are involved with.
Traditional South African braai (barbecue)He also set up a traditional South African braai (barbecue), in the home of friends of his, and it was fun to sit down for dinner with the couple and their two teenage daughters. Our conversations gave me a much better perspective on what daily life is like in Cape Town, plus the food was great.
It was such a pleasure to host you, Pat. You are now a friend of South Africa and part of the “EMBRACE” family. See you soon! Deon Kitching
If you really want to enjoy South African cooking at it’s best you should taste Cape Malay cooking!
You will see how popular these recipes are by visiting the Facebook page of Fatima Sydow: “Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow”, which has 214,000 likes
The “Cape Malay” community is rich in culture and religious traditions that have played a major role in shaping the history and diversity of Cape Town. Their ancestors came from modern day Indonesia and they were shipped as slaves to the Cape as far back as 1654!
The founders of this community were the first to bring Islam to South Africa. The community’s culture and traditions have also left an impact that is felt to this day. The Muslim community in Cape Town remains large and vibrant. It has expanded greatly beyond those exiles who started the first mosques in South Africa.
Ox liver, mash potatoes and onion stew
People in the Cape Malay community generally speak mostly Afrikaans but also English, or local dialects of the two. They no longer speak the Malay languages and other languages which their ancestors used, although various Malay words and phrases are still employed in daily usage.
Malva pudding with a lemon butter sauce is always a winner!
This cultural group developed a characteristic ‘Cape Malay’ music. An interesting secular folk song type, of Dutch origin, is termed the nederlandslied. The language and musical style of this genre reflects the history of South African slavery; it is often described and perceived as ‘sad’ and ’emotional’ in content and context.
Lamb and pea stew (bredie)
Photos from: “Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow” (Facebook)
Interesting reading and listening
The Cape Malay: http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/cape-malay
Recipes: Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow
Music: Kat and the kings perform ‘Lonely Girl’ (07.06.2012) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxApzEXMAYE