Jimmy Letsoalo is a 39-year-old, physically disabled resident of Centenary House, Polokwane in Limpopo province. A horrendous motor vehicle accident left him a quadriplegic, totally dependant on others to assist him with all his needs. Jimmy has been unemployed ever since, and to keep him occupied, he writes. He decided to reveal Africa’s best-loved dishes in a cookbook titled Dish Africa.

The book published by Aitken Makgopa, contains nearly 100 easy to follow step-by-step recipes. All the recipes are collected from cultural African Societies of Sovenga origin. Sovenga is the name of a group consisting of Sothos, Vendas and Tsongas. With black and white photographs, Dish Africa captures the simple tastes of traditional dishes people of the Limpopo province enjoy at family gatherings and special occasions like weddings and parties. Recipes include Marula juice, old African soup, Putu pap (Afrikaans known as “krummelpap”), Makwanda (Chicken feet) and Ledompolo (dumplings). The book also contains various delicious homemade drink recipes, perfect for those hot December days. The book was co-written by two professional chefs, Michael Letsoalo and Phillit Ntai. The method of food preparation in this recipe book is original and traditional, although modern technology and methods can also be utilised.

It started with a dream

A friend, Jacques Nel, inspired the author one Sunday morning on his way to church. “He gave me hope, courage and support concerning the book. My dream was to write a recipe book on African cuisine and I shared this with a colleague, Marcia Nepfumbada. I have enjoyed cooking from my childhood. I follow in the footsteps of my father, a domestic cook as he catered for parties, functions and at home.”

Marcia then helped Jimmy to write Dish Africa, which took five years to complete.

With Christmas season upon us, this could be the perfect gift. For sales and donations contact Jimmy Letsoalo at Centenary House, Box 601, Penina Park, Polokwane, 0700.