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.
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.