Uncategorized

A Vegan Boer?

screen-shot-2017-06-03-at-4-35-31-pm.png

Now, many of you who are South Africans know how Afrikaners absolutely adore their meat. It’s chicken for lunch, lamb for dinner, and maybe some biltong for a snack. It’s basically tradition. Eating game is a lifestyle, not a choice; they eat, sleep, and live their meat.

Also for South Africans, the best get together is the good old traditional ‘braai’, which is short for ‘braaivleis’, meaning grilled meat. South Africa is known for its wildlife and delicious game, hence the meat obsession. “National Heritage Day” actually changed to “National Braai Day”, and is celebrated on 24 September.

A time to light the fire, get together with your peers and eat a flip load of meat. The meat at a braai is usually Droërwors, rump steak, kudu, oxtail, chicken strips, pork chops and chicken kebabs, accompanied by some drinks and music. Basically a giant meat gathering. If anything, Boers are known for being the gods of the good old South African ‘braais’. Probably the biggest carnivores amongst the human race.

Some shops such as the ‘Boer and the Butcher’ are even run by Afrikaans owners, the words are even derived from the language. Hopefully you have an idea about the Afrikaans culture now and how meat is actually their religion

Recently I have noticed that, attending a braai, there are many stigmas around braais, firstly the men light the fire and hold the tongs, whilst the ladies prepare the table and salads and desserts, as if females can’t braai? As you can see, if you are a female vegan attending a braai, it might be easier to bring the salad, but if you are a vegan male, apparently your masculine side to you disappears. It’s like feminine being a vegan? What?

I know that if you are a vegan, bringing your chickpea or lentil patty might not be the best idea. The Afrikaners or, let’s get a little more intense, ‘normal’ South Africans might look at you as if you are a some sort of alien. To them you are seen as the bottom of the food chain and quite foreign. Worst of all the whole evening is based upon your lifestyle eating choice, the vegan is basically the ugly duckling of the lot.

Jokes will flare up and the evening will revolve around why you are such a disgrace to South Africans, or any other countless veganism-related questions. Where do you get your protein from? Don’t you lack iron? Don’t you miss meat? And, the best question of all, what do you even eat?

Instead, it’s safe to bring a salad and some wine. Bringing a vegan patty is like walking into a church service listening to Lady Gaga’s hit single ‘Judah’. So just bring the salad…

Who is this Vegan Boer? 

Now that you understand how Afrikaner’s and the majority of South African’s love their meat, I introduce to you Adrian, the waiter who served my mother and I at the BOCCA DOLCE vegan restaurant in Plettenberg Bay. Adrian truly is a lovely young gentleman, who is super passionate about veganism. We had a 20 minute conversation with him before even being shown to our table.

Not only is he a vegan…he is a BOER. Now those two most definitely do not gel together. Some may see his veganism as a departure from his heritage.

I have to disagree. People can be very pedantic when it comes to vegans. If you don’t eat meat as a South African, especially an Afrikaner, they isolate themselves from you. Most traditional Afrikaners don’t know how to approach you, they just tend to make fun of vegans. They despise you, because not eating meat is like a sin. Being vegan to them is as if you serve a different God…

Firstly a “Vegan Boer” is practically an oxymoron…So how does Adrian cope as a vegan in a culture where meat is religious?

This passionate Afrikaans Vegan, who served my mother and I the most delicious vegan food, was the most down to earth man I have ever met. He is not hostile towards non-vegans, very open to all questions about being vegan and non vegan. This vegan Boer’s testimony is definitely worth your time. Being a vegan for 8 months I was intrigued and asked many questions around veganism.

Adrian is super knowledgeable about vegan food and the body. Chatting to him opened up my eyes about the world of veganism is about. The benefits, recipes, their customers stories, nutritional facts and how the body changes when one does not eat meat, dairy or fish anymore.

He has chatted to many vegans, ferreting information from many different sources and experiences.

As a vegan, the restaurants in Plettenberg Bay are not particularly vegan friendly, which makes life quite difficult when eating out, until I heard about ‘Bocca Dolce’ vegan farm.

A VEGAN FARM? How insane? Usually it would just be a restaurant, but not ‘BOCCA DOLCE’, an Italian word for ‘sweet mouth’. The name says it all, describing their delicious buffet, offering a variety of foods from salads, pizzas, burgers, fruits, roasted potatoes, spaghettie bolognese, vegetable curries,  hot dogs and more. These vegans do not mess around, they satisfy all your taste buds.

sandwich-and-salad-bar
Photo Credits: Management

If you want pastry, you have it, if you want cake, it’s yours. They grow their own organic vegetables on the farm, which they use for their restaurant. Nothing better knowing you are eating fresh, organic products. Their bread is freshly baked and their coffee is made from pure Italian beans, not to mention they handcraft and manufacture Classic Raw Wood Furniture. This place is like a found treasure chest to any health freak, not just vegans. It’s fresh and everybody loves fresh.

I am always intrigued to hear how someone became a vegan, and every vegan’s story is different. Becoming a vegan is a whole lifestyle change; it’s not just a diet. Adrian’s story really is special, intriguing, and touching. Something I have never heard of, or think will ever come across again.

Advertisements
Dance, Making It Visual, Uncategorized

Dance is POLITICAL

“Dance needs bodies and every body has a political history” – Talia Lewis

1937002_535419286618852_4526637784683613871_n (1)
Dancer: Nuske George    Photography: Nardus Engelbrecht

What do I mean by political?

We understand that politics relates to the public affairs or government of a country. Politics in this post is seen as an act of power. The questions revolved around this power is who defines what is politically correct? Who controls what is ethically and aesthetically correct? In this case, in DANCE.

Dance is extremely complex to define, because it is constantly evolving like a culture. What is meant by this is that culture is a manmade construction, it is not one group of people, but a fusion of many ethnicities and communities. This defines dance today, it is a fusion of dance styles, a community of people from different ethnicities and training backgrounds. In addition to the dance training, the performance world and dance criticism within South Africa, one of the main reasons for the complexity is due to the influence of politics, culture, colonialism and migration. These aspects have hugely impacted the dance world in South Africa more so the perception of South Africa today.

By unpacking the issues within dance such as the body stigmas, which looks at the ideal body of a dancer, the gender discourses and more importantly race. These cultural markers effect how the audience (you) view dance works, which formally creates a perspective of what is ethical and aesthetically pleasing on stage.

By briefly looking into the history of dance in South Africa, Classical Ballet was dominant and seen as a ‘high art’ (a form of art that originates from the West that is strictly for ‘white’ bodies). It was the main form of dance. This is where colonialism took place. The influence of the West, their norms, traditions, dance forms and authenticity has opened many opportunities for South Africa, however created many disadvantages. The confusion in dance lies between the fusion of many dance styles, because politically with colonialism there is this constant search for the truth…What is authentically African? An identity crisis, which still prevails today, especially when it deals with African Dance…

Many dance companies, dance researches and choreographers strive for equality and beg to understand the reason for the restrictions, constraints and boundaries set politically in the dance world in South Africa. Politically this dates back to the Apartheid era and due to historical events as such, dance in South Africa continuously faces political and aesthetical challenges for example why is a white body on a professional stage performing a traditional African dance seen as politically incorrect?

Identity is a huge issue; we all face an identity crisis due to how society shapes our mind and how the media portrays perfection. As a South African audience member and performer we need to rid this notion of what dance is and what it should look like, the history in art has already broken traditions, overstepped boundaries and created a space for us to explore, experiment and express today. One must learn from the past and cease to live in it. Learn to tolerate, adapt and respect the evolving world we live in today.

In South Africa the fact that we are a multicultural audience the question an audience member (you) should ask is who is performing? Where is the performance performed? And what is being performed? For example the dancing that took place during the Apartheid era. The laws of apartheid, the Group Areas Act affected the performance space for dancers. The ‘Blacks’, Indians and Coloureds were not allowed to perform on professional platforms such as Artscape and the Baxter Theatre. They were forbidden due to their race, because white bodies were more privileged…How racist !

Consequently dance is not just a form of entertainment. The body is seen as a political tool, which is used as a powerful mechanism to educate, to change the perception and future of South Africa.

Click here to read about dance being political – It blew my mind !