So we wanted to do to these cooking classes with the Ikamva Youth students in Nyanga. We had a few things to contemplate before we got started.
Our background as students from Copenhagen is in global nutrition and health. The question we posed ourselves was: How do you teach about health and nutrition when you come from different cultures and different realities?
Health, what is considered healthy and what the health needs of different people are, is certainly determined by different contexts. In other words, we knew that we couldn’t waltz into Nyanga and tell students how to change their diets and dictate to them what ‘healthy’ is, since the term is so variable and there are other determinants such as household income which affect what people can afford to eat.
We therefore saw the cooking classes as an opportunity to explore and expose students to different cultures through food. In doing so we hoped to inspire students to broaden their awareness of food culture and ideas around health, simultaneously daring them to stay open minded and try things that seemed foreign to them.
In South Africa different types of foods and meals are associated with different groups of people. White people eat this, Black people eat that, Coloured people eat this and that, Indian people this and so on. By exposing students to different foods and cultural ideas we hoped to invite them to cross these cultural stereotypes and boundaries.
Many ideas. Is our line of thinking relevant? Should one expose students to foods and ingredients that they can’t buy in their immediate environment or can’t even afford?
We think ‘YES’. Exposure to the unfamiliar can assist us in becoming critical thinkers and developing empathy towards other cultures. Most importantly it also allows us to rethink and be critical of cultural stereotypes and fixed definitions of things. Overly idealistic? Perhaps 🙂
OK so we had an idea and an intention but how were we going to fund this baby? Jesper came up with the brilliant plan to do a fundraising charity event. A Yoga and Lunch charity event in Arderne Gardens, Claremont to be precise. After much planning and spreading the word, we pulled off the event together with the 16 Nyanga students.
The event took place on 17 March 2013 and we were overwhelmed by the support we received! Since we were teaching a yoga class, on the menu for the day was Indian food. We used ingredients such as asafetida (a spice) and ghee (clarified butter), which is at the heart of Indian cooking, in all the dishes me made. The food we prepared was inspired by an Indian woman, Sandhya, who has been making food for Western yoga students for many years in the south of India in Mysore, Karnataka.
The food was delicious and all the participants wanted the recipes and another homemade chapati to take home. The chapati ‘team‘ kicked butt and made those chapattis like pros – you guys rocked!
In the end we raised R6000 to put towards our cooking classes and we are simply delighted and blown away by the support that we have received.
A huge thank you to all the amazing people who supported our Yoga & Lunch fundraising event! Thank you to IkamvaYouth for the opportunity to work with the students, and thank you to the incredible students.
Thank you all a thousand times over :))
Jesper and Sharline