Evita’s Kossie Sikelela
She might be an opportunistic social climber who clawed her way out of dirt-poor circumstances to become a celebrated actress to forget her own lines in such boer-flik classics like Boggel en die Akkedis, Meisie van my Drome and Duiwelsvallei to become the power-hungry wife of a nationalist politician. Between having children and entertaining politicians she found herself becoming a popular public figure in her own right.
Tannie Evita, as she’s affectionately known, has never been afraid to speak her mind, much to the irritation of the people she’s talking about, but her audience hangs on her every word because they know that she speaks the truth about things they prefer not to think about- even though they should. Her resourcefulness knows no limits as she’s had to overcome personal and political hardships. Her greatest reincarnation followed after rinsing out her dyed-in-the-wool NP principles to cross the parliamentary floor to unashamedly join the ANC .
Her fashion sense might be questionable but she certainly knows how to entertain, which is why I love her delicious recipe books Evita’s Kossie Sikelela and Evita’s Bossie Sikelela. Both titles are inspired by the South African national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel, which means Lord Bless Africa in Xhosa.
Evita is an acclaimed chef who now resents her recipes for delicious dishes gathered on her travels in South Africa and around the world. She shares her recipes for guinea-fowl with prunes, pot-roasted quail, quince bredie and orange duck. Pofadders, oxtail and even sweet and sour warthog. Evita reinvents old favourites, and deliciously prepares veldkos – who would have thought of waterblommetjie chicken or dandelion salad for the dinner table? Each recipe has been tested and vetted, and they’re all ridiculously easy to make. My liewe aarde, just paging through the book is a mouth-watering experience, with all those pictures taken on her visits.
Everyone knows I love Evita Bezuidenhout, so to be given a copy of Evita’s Bossie Sikelela as a surprise gift was a great gift to receive indeed. In addition to the inspirational recipes, practical cooking tips, personal advice, mouthwatering illustrations and ironic (and iconic) portraits, Evita’s Bossie Sikelela is a fun read. I often just pull it off the bookshelf just to read as a amusing memoir of the great lady herself, and also to find inspiration for recreating great South African dishes.
Evita’s Bossie Sikelela’s dustcover also doubles as a game of Snakes & Ladders and a map of her travels- so, don’t deprive yourself of the added entertainment value of recreating her travels and recipes at the roll of a dice!
Evita Bezuidenhout’s books are also available in Afrikaans for Afrikaans readers.