This year, the Easter holidays will be a far cry from what we’re used to in Mzansi. Under different circumstances travel bags would’ve been packed for families to take a well-deserved break for the long weekend.
Instead South Africa and the rest of the world are facing unprecedented times, as we continue to battle the covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns, self-isolation and social distancing are our new normal, but keeping some of what used to be normal to us alive is probably the only way to keep sane during this period.
Food For Mzansi’s journalists share their fondest Easter memories.
For Dawn Noemdoe, Food For Mzansi editor, her memories live in the smells in their kitchen and stuffing her face with pickled fish and homemade hot cross buns.
“Besides my mom’s pickled fish and buns that she usually makes and shares with the entire family, my Easter memory is all about spending time with family. Going from house to house to eat all my aunties’ pickled fish, because you can’t leave without eating something, and don’t forget the yummy chocolates,” she eagerly says.
Sinesipho Tom, our audience engagement journalist from Noupoort in the Northern Cape remembers Easter weekends as a time dedicated to church, family and shopping.
“My Easter memories are quite unusual and exciting,” she says. “I’m Methodist so all Methodist churches in the Northern Cape region would come together and hold one church service, for me that meant making friends and meeting new people and occasionally having a crush here and there. I was not allowed to date but there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of window shopping,” she adds bursting into laughter.
“My mom would cook the most delicious seven course meals and my whole family would be in jovial mood. Things were just nice,” Tom reminisces.
For Noluthando Ngcakani, Food For Mzansi journalist from Kimberley, this will be her first solo Easter. “These are the growing pains of adulthood, hey,” says Ngcakani. She will mostly miss the massive lunch spreads and Easter chocolates. “We’re in lockdown. This means I can’t participate in my family’s annual Easter egg hunt,” she says solemnly.
“My memories of Easter are mostly a blur. All I remember is passing out after stuffing my face with my mom’s massive lunch spread. Don’t even get me started on the sugar–induced coma from the handfuls of Easter chocolate I would eat right after.”
“My family is big on fish and this time of the year particularly my mom just goes all out. This time for me is all about my family and food. Being alone this year, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am,“ she adds.
Duncan Masiwa, our Food For Mzansi Journalist from Strand in the Western Cape, will also be spending the day solo. “I think for me besides it being lockdown, what I will miss the most about Easter this year is my family,” he says.
“I will definitely be missing the pickled fish. I don’t know what I am going to be cooking on my own, but it will not be pickled fish. I’ll probably have a braai or something. I think being away from family at this time is a bit unusual, for me celebrating Easter was usually attending church conferences where everyone would come together, so that definitely feels weird for me.”
Our editor-in-chief Ivor Price has opted to spend his 21-days in lockdown with his parents. This is a decision that played in his favor, he says.
“In the end it might drive me insane, but I’m quite privileged to be in lockdown with my parents in Cape Town.” He has taken the time to appreciate the little things. He adds that he used to hate Easter when he was a young boy growing up in Cape Town, but has grown fond of the holiday and the many traditions over time.
“I appreciate my mom’s traditional pickled fish – prepared at least a week before Good Friday. She uses lots of vinegar and curry for that extra zing. And we get to choose between hake and snoek. My mom prefers snoek, but my dad and I love hake fillets more. The best part of my Easter is my mom’s homemade ginger beer. There’s nothing like it. I think in many ways it’s a way to remember my late grandmother. My mom still insists on using the exact same recipe my gran’ gave her decades ago.”