My Trip to South Africa — Day Three: Cooking Class in Bo-Kaap & Robben Island Tour

Cooking Class in Bo-Kaap Township

Cape Town is majestic not only because of the nature and landscape, but also because of the diversity. The Southeast Asian, East-Indies, and South Asian people living in Cape Town were brought to South Africa via the Dutch East India Company, and were indigent servants or slaves and called “Cape Malays”. Many of the Cape Malays still live in the Bo-Kaap Township.

We travelled to Bo-Kaap for a cooking class, where we learned about Cape Malays’ unique culture from Zainie Misbach, a Cape Malay Chief and owner of The Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour. The Cape Malays are known for their samosas, spelled samoosa by the Cape Malays. Samoosas are an Indian and South Asian fusion, and they are extremely delicious. I was excited to make samoosas from scratch for the first time!

Once in Bo-Kaap, we met Zainie and her son at Atlas, the local spice store where she explained all of the spices we were going to cook with, including coriander and curry leaves. The spices were extremely fragrant, the smell alone was making me hungry.

Next, we walked from Atlas to Zainie’s home for the cooking class. During our walk it was difficult not to notice the picturesque bright colored homes in Bo-Kaap and of course, I stopped for a photo-op.

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One of the perks about a Travel Noire TN Experience, is that a professional photographer accompanies the group during the entire trip. We were fortunate to have Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar, a talented international photographer as our travel photographer! Each traveler has a one-on-one photoshoot with the photographer.

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While we were cooking lunch, a few people were having their photoshoots in the beautiful streets in the Bo-Kaap Township. Those photos are priceless.

Zainie, her son, and her daughter-in-law taught us how to make chicken curry, chilly bites or daltjies, which are fried spinach dough balls, rooties, which is flat flaky bread, and samoosas. We also made a vegetarian curry, which was served with rice.

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Rooties:

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Daltjies:

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Zainie is a very passionate chef! She wanted to teach us the correct way to cook. She ran her kitchen like a machine, but there was still a lot of love there. I was listening to her and glancing up while she demonstrated the folding technique for the samoosa, and Zainie was quick to let me know that I needed to give her my full attention. Ha! I appreciated her passion because by the end of the cooking class I was a pro at folding samoosas!

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Samoosas:

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I helped prepare the vegetarian lentil stew with Zainie’s son.

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Our lunch was delicious and it was a fun experience cooking in a group.

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Robben Island

After the cooking class we had a little bit of free time, so a group of us decided to go to Robben Island. Thankfully Nathi worked his magic and we were able to get tickets for the previously sold out tour to the Island. If you are ever in Cape Town and you can only do one thing, I would say Robben Island and climbing Table Mountain are tied for first place.

We all boarded the ferry boat and sailed over to Robben Island. I enjoyed seeing Cape Town from another vantage point. The water was choppy and someone got seasick. Once we arrived on the island we boarded a bus and the tour began.

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Our guided tour on the island was led by local staff and a former prisoner. As we heard about the history and the way the prisoners were treated, it was difficult not to be a little emotional. I wasn’t sure how I would react to seeing Nelson Mandela’s cell at the prison. As I looked at his cell, I felt a sense of deep gratitude for Mandela’s service to South Africans and citizens around the world. As we continued to read and hear about the prisoners’ experiences during the tour, I began to cry. It was a very emotional and inspirational experience. I left the island full of tenacity and inspiration to fight against injustice in my everyday life. I will never forget Robben Island. I actually wish that I could have spent more time there, because there was so much to learn.

We ended the day with seafood and drinks in Newlands. It was nothing like the food we had the previous night at Ocean Blue in Camps Bay, which was probably my favorite restaurant we ate at in Cape Town.  🙂

Live well and travel often friends!

With gratitude,

Jessica Leanice

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