Johannesburg's afrocentric chef opens restaurant to honour his heritage

8 hours 29 minutes ago

Sizo Henna is one of South Africa’s top chefs – well known for discovering and celebrating African dishes on his cooking show, ‘Rustic Chakula’.

This year, Henna took the plunge avoided by many young chefs and opened his own restaurant, Blaque Wine and Grillhouse, in Johannesburg.

The eatery offers an exclusive pairing of South African wines and African cuisine with a spins on international dishes.

During his famous “One Night with Sizo” dinner, Henna told Reuters that his love for food can be traced back to his childhood, when his family would travel to different parts of the country, enjoying indigenous cuisines made by locals.

“From the age of 9-years-old, I didn’t know what was a palate but my palate grew and understanding different flavours and textures, hotel food from restaurant food, felt like I could tell a difference. So, I was not that kid that loved burger or fishfingers, I actually loved soups, different broths, curries,” he said.

“What I made now, is the lamb cutlets, beautiful lamb cutlets, French trimmed underneath we did a nice casserole which is potato, butternut, cream and then just to make the plate pretty, we put the baby fennels, which went beautiful with it,” he boasted.

The 5-month-old restaurant has already won positive reviews and guests are flocking in to enjoy his signature flame-grilled meats.

Henna studied at London’s prestigious Walthamstow Forest College. After graduating, he travelled around the world, learning about different cultures and cuisines.

His ideas come from worlds as far apart as a pan fried foie-gras from France, and creamy Umngqusho – a mix of dried kennels, sugar beans and potatoes from his home town.

But one thing is constant, his obsession of pairing local wines with local dishes.

“Being a chef and obviously we work very well with wines and I’m human – I love wines, I love good wine. I then decided now it’s time to open my own little baby which is called ‘Blaque Wine and Grillhouse. We’re taking South African dishes with South African wines – we pair that together,” he says.

Henna’s TV cooking show, Rustic Chakula airs on South Africa’s national broadcaster SABC3.

On the show, he explores a contemporary lifestyle while trying to demonstrate how simplicity is always best.

But moving from screen to the restaurant business was not easy.

Like most entrepreneurs, he struggled to find funding and says he is finding his way.

“Of course, I have spent 16 years of my life in the kitchen so now when you are having to run the business, looking at the stock, the cost, HR and everything, it becomes a big thing you know? So… but I am learning every day. Those are the biggest challenges,” he said.

Henna has received massive support from black South Africans, who say they are consuming more than just food. There are not many black-owned fine-dining establishments in South Africa.

Eating here, they say, is part of an emergent lifestyle where tradition can be honoured in a fine dining setting.

“Being here with my friends, my friends that I wanted to be with and to be in Sizo’s restaurant – I love Sizo, I love all he’s doing and I actually want to celebrate all my happy moments and I hope many other black people do because he’s doing something amazing,” said Dashi Sabina.

“I enjoyed the fact we are celebrating a dear friend’s milestone birthday in a black-owned establishment that’s successful and just having a good time and great food, great wine, great company,” said Shiela Otieno-Osanya.

Sometimes referred to as Joburg’s afrocentric chef, Henna considers himself a humble trendsetter who has stayed grounded from his days waiting tables, to cooking for South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

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South Africa's ruling party chair backs calls for land expropriation

8 hours 44 minutes ago

Chairman of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has backed calls for land expropriation in the country.

According to Reuters, Gwede Mantashe was quoted as saying that the state should take land from those who own more than 12,000 hectares without compensation.

“You shouldn’t own more than 12,000 hectares of land and therefore if you own more, it should be taken without compensation,” ANC Chairman Gwede Mantashe, who is also the country’s mines minister, told the News24 website in an interview published on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear whether his comments represented an official ANC policy. But Reuters said four key party officials did not answer their phones when reached for clarification.

More than two decades after the end of apartheid, white people still own most of South Africa’s land.

Ownership patterns remain highly emotive as the government has been slow to transfer land to the black majority after centuries of colonial and racial oppression.

South Africa’s ruling ANC plans to amend the constitution to redistribute land , but this has been interpreted negatively by some investors, who see the plan as undermining property rights.

The ANC has sought to allay those fears, saying land reform will follow a parliamentary process.

Reuters

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Explore tourism in Ethiopia [Travel]

8 hours 52 minutes ago

In this week’s Travel episode we explore Ethiopia, the cradle of mankind. Ethiopia has been making headlines across the globe for all the right reasons.

The country has been making great strides in turning a new chapter. From its relations with neighbouring country Eritrea to solving its internal squabbles, 2018 is a promising year for the country.

With this in hand, we focus on the country’s tourism sector. Ethiopia is working towards enhancing its hospitality industry capacity and welcome more foreign tourists.
The Eastern African nation earned 3.5 billion dollars from tourism in the recently ended fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Culture & Tourism. This revenue was generated from nearly one million tourists during the time period.

Elayne Wangalwa tells us more

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Six years later, South Africans demand justice for Marikana Massacre victims

10 hours 45 minutes ago

Politics has dominated the commemoration of the 6th anniversary of the Marikana tragedy where police opened fire and killed 34 mineworkers who were involved in a strike to demand better wages.

The total death toll from the violence, the bloodiest security incident in post-apartheid South Africa, was 44 with 10 people killed in clashes leading up to the August 15, 2012 shooting, including two police officers.

As South Africans on social media bemoaned the lack of accountability and remorse by the government six years after the bloody massacre, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party issued a statement saying they would urgently implement recommendations of the Farlam Commission.

‘‘There is no doubt about our commitment in ensuring that never again should such a tragedy befall our nation, and no stone will be left unturned in ensuring that measures are in place to achieve this,” the ANC statement reads.

Investigating the Marikana Massacre

An inquiry into the deadly violence led by retired judge Ian Farlam blamed the Lonmin mining company, police and unions for the “horrendous tragedy”.

The commission among others recommended that:

public order policing policies are revised, including benchmarking “the world’s best practices” for crowd control.
a criminal investigation of the police officers involved in the incident.

found that Lonmin, the world’s fourth-largest platinum producer by value, “did not use its best endeavors” to resolve a wage dispute with workers.

While six police officers have since been charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the Marikana massacre, they were granted bail in March this year.

EFF calls out president Ramaphosa

Opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters, (EFF) also issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to hold politicians including president Cyril Ramaphosa accountable for the death of the striking mineworkers.

‘’...in memory of all the 34 mineworkers who were killed that day, we shall remove the ANC from power,’‘ read part of the EFF statement.

Ramaphosa who was a non-executive director at Lonmin during negotiations to halt the strike that led to the killings, was absolved of any responsibility and guilt by the Farlam Commission.

The president has however pledged to play a role in the healing process for the Marikana victims.

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Views from South Africans on social media

On social media, several South Africans expressed their disappointment with the delayed justice for the victims of the Marikana massacre.

All the politicians involved in the #MarikanaMassacre have been promoted. The victims still haven’t been compensated. Six years on, no one has been held accountable, nor has there been an official apology. We can’t rest until there’s justice for #Marikana.— Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh ? (@SizweMpofuWalsh) 16 août 2018

Dear defenders of state engineered #MarikanaMassacre can it be that you really have forgotten that some workers were arrested and trialed for the killing of up to 10 other workers in the run up the 16 August mass murder,or is it self induced amnesia for political convenience?— Zwelinzima Vavi (@Zwelinzima1) 16 août 2018

#MarikanaMassacre all they wanted was R12000 to better their lives and their family lives, in a democratic South Africa but they were killed for wanting to live a decent life. We will never forget pic.twitter.com/8dUTrzJzHZ— Nkululeko Somacala-Manciya (@nkulipp) 16 août 2018

It was documented that some n'angas told protesters that they had become bullet proof. Still many unanswered questions but I strongly feel religion has to be regulated, those that mislead people have to be held to account. #MarikanaMassacre pic.twitter.com/WedTGra9Mi— Elias Muchineripi (@muchimash) 16 août 2018

The miners were boxed in then shot from behind with one point of exit. They were not charging at the police! Remembering #MarikanaMassacre pic.twitter.com/w1shDAeDbH— Azania Afrika (@SAYoungLion) 16 août 2018

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Egyptian teenager transforms tin into toys [No Comment]

11 hours 10 minutes ago

Egyptian teenager Ahmed Ibrahim lacked toys when he was a child, but with his creativity, talent and consciousness, he made hundreds of his own toys out of tin cans.

With an impressive collection of nearly 1,200 toys, 13-year-old Ibrahim started four years ago with a small tin airplane model.

Using only cans, glue and scissors, Ibrahim created rolling vehicles, board games and even dolls.

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