By Shaanaaz de Jager
FOR some the idea of cooking for the world’s most famous statesman might be too hot to handle, but for Queenstown-born Xoliswa Ndoyiya preparing Nelson Mandela’s favourite meals has been a piece of cake.
For the past 20 years Ndoyiya has been finding her way into Madiba’s heart through her delightful and homely meals.
Now, together with author Anna Trapido, she is giving the public a glimpse into her kitchen by way of a cookbook, Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen.
The book was launched at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg earlier this month. Ukutya Kwasekhaya – “home food” in isiXhosa – contains a collection of more than 60 recipes.
Trapido, a food writer, radio and television broadcaster, qualified as a chef at the famous Prue Leith Chef’s Academy.
Former “first chef” Ndoyiya, who has not only cooked for Mandela but also for his friends and family as well as visiting heads of state, told Weekend Post the public had responded well to the book.
“As a chef I love to experiment with food and come up with new recipes.”
She said some of her own new recipes would be contained in a second book.
Ndoyiya said the recipes included those for the former president’s favourite meals – “samp and beans, cooked lamb and oxtail” – which reflected his “simple tastes”.
“My family is so proud of me,” she said. “My parents feel it is an honour that I cook for the Mandela family.”
Mandela’s grandson, Luvuyo Mandela, said: “uMam’Xoli has been the family’s best-kept secret. She is more than someone who prepared meals, she was a parent to us.”
He thanked Ndoyiya for her “many sacrifices”, including spending more time with his family than with her own family in the Eastern Cape.
This is a shortened version of an article that first appeared in the print edition of Weekend Post on Saturday February 25, 2012.