I’m having a few moments of indecision as to who I should be cheering
for in the World Cup. Obviously my upbringing, my accent, my family and
my past experience are all raring to go out in support of England, but
with the scandals coming thick and fast and barely an intact marriage
in the squad, I have to wonder whether they are in good mental shape to
be able to win the ultimate prize.
So perhaps it is time for me
to join the ranks of my adopted country and blow a vuvuzela for Bafana
instead. After my lunch today I am certainly feeling well up for a bit
of Rainbow Nation patriotism, because today Restaurant Ed Cath Shone
and I headed off to Gugulethu to enjoy the truly South African
experience which is Mzoli’s. (Check out our awesome picture gallery)
have heard about Mzoli’s for a long time but I have never been – the
customary ‘white’ fears of going into townships, the concerns about my
car/handbag/cellphone, the worries about becoming a target for
criminals have all conspired to keep me in the safe ‘burbs or inside
anaemic shopping malls instead.
What a fool I was. Lunching in
Gugs today felt as safe as lunching anywhere. There was a good mix of
customers, the staff were welcoming and friendly, the place was clean
and tidy and the food was excellent and outrageously cheap (all the
meat we could eat and more for R28 a head!). We met Charles Withington,
wine guru to Mzoli and tried two of his wines (the Mandisi Merlot,
named after Mzoli’s late son, is one of the nicest wines I’ve had in a
long time) and as we sat and chatted over a bottle or two, I felt sad
and stupid that I had allowed my prejudices to keep me from enjoying
this experience until now.
Our new system of red carding of restaurants
for the upcoming World Cup is proving hugely popular – unsurprisingly
when you think that we all love good value and hate to be ripped off –
and I am all for naming and shaming the places who are just out to make
a fast buck at our expense. But we also ought to remember to applaud
the good venues as well, in particular those that celebrate the people
of this fabulous country.
Places such as Oep ve Koep in Paternoster, Biesmiellah in the Bo Kaap and Wandie’s Place in Soweto.
As for me, Mzoli’s scores a huge goal!
I’m a convert, so catch me down there on match day with my vuvuzela –
I’ll be subduing my inner red, white and blue and will be joining the
crowd cheering for Bafana after all!
Which restaurants do you think visitors to the World Cup should experience in order to get the real flavours of South Africa? Email us your ideas.