Thursday, February 14, 2013

bring and braai

Yesterday we participated in one of South Africa's most venerable traditions--the bring and braai.  The closest equivalent to a braai in the USA is a barbeque.  I use the modifier "closest" because South Africans do not put on the grill what Americans typically do--hamburgers and hot dogs.  South African braais consist only of slabs of meat, mostly of the red variety (chicken also doesn't really count--though we did braai some chicken on this night).  Braais also consist of boerwoers, farmer's sausage--but not by any means as the main meat.  Rather, boerwoers seems to be the mere garnish to steak or lamb, usually ringed on the grill around the main fare.  The occasion of this braai was a welcome to families with students who have just entered Transkei Primary School through Grade R (kindergarten).  This is our third one of these, since, in addition to our current Grade R learner (Levi), we've been through this with Moses and Isaac. 

Families set up blankets and chairs around the perimeter of the grounds in front of Levi's school.  Our contingent on this day consisted of our usual household (our six plus Simelwe and Asiko and, since October, Jacob) and one guest--Nonyameko Dwele from our Bible School (she had joined our family for a couple of days while studying at our house).

The braai duties usually fall to the men, so I did my best.  Jacob helped me out.   The school  furnished the fires and the braais (grills), each family brought its own meat, sides, and table service.  It's every man for himself around the braais; people cram their meat in open spaces alongside others' meat, then remove their food from the grill when it's done to make room for others.

Asiko and Jesse sharing a drink.