We Are Not One Story. We Are Africa.

We Are Africa 1

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James A. Michener

Imagine the world as one film.

In my imagining, Woody Allen is directing. Perhaps your version is more Spielberg or Coppola, but for most of us, Africa’s role in this film is the same. And it is played by the same actors: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, David Livingstone and Simba. Four characters to represent more than 50 countries and over a thousand languages. Hotel Rwanda, Out of Africa, The Lion King: those are the films the audience sees.

This year’s We Are Africa event in Cape Town gathered people from all over the world – the directors, the viewers and the actors themselves, so to speak – and called for a rewrite. A reimagining of the story told of Africa. It called for a story told not of but by those from Africa, of Africa, in Africa. For a broadening of our script, for the inclusion of the infinite tales, the truths, that span the continent – tales, truths, that can be told no better than by the people born on African soil. It demanded that we go beyond the single story, beyond the safari, to the humanity.

Not One Story

Africa. Not the film of… That is what we hope to share with you. In our space online and off. Here in our dispatches from the field and in the field itself – on Routes du Bonheur that tie some of the many destinations and experiences of Africa together with one golden thread.

The stories that arose from We Are Africa this month inspired with their courage – such as Levison Wood’s Walking the Nile – and excited with their flavour and diversity – at our pop-up Gastronomic Bar, for instance. Perched at the entrance to the event, our bar united chefs from all over Africa, from the coast of Hermanus to the banks of the Zambezi, allowing for that mixing of old tales and creation of new to emerge as they do on travels through Africa.

Below are some snapshots from the event. But remember, this is only one tale.


“We Are Africa. We Are Not One Story.”

The Collection

Laurent-Perrier

Waterford Wines

The Gastronomic Bar


Virgil Kahn
Head Chef at Delaire Graff‘s Indochine Restaurant

Delaire Graff

We Are Africa 3

We Are Africa


Ashley Moss
Head Chef at The Cellars-Hohenort

Chef Ashley Moss

Ashley Moss

Gastronomic Bar

Gastronomic Bar

Nespresso 6


Veronica Canha-Hibbert
Head Chef at Ellerman House

Ellerman House

Taste the World


Sungani Phiri
Head Chef at Royal Chundu

Gastronomic Bar

Royal Chundu Treats


Delia HarbottleThe Cellars-Hohenort
Chad Blows – Head Chef at The Marine

The Collection Chefs

Gastronomic Bar

We Are Africa

We Are Africa 2


Thank you to We Are Africa for hosting us, to the incredible Relais & Châteaux chefs from our hotels and lodges and to our partners – Waterford Wine Estate, Valrhona chocolate and Nespresso.

The Wine Rorschach Test – Delaire Graff Estate

Delaire Graff

Wine relieves us from our minds. This is my favourite of its attributes. Which probably says more about me than the wine itself. Such is the nature of this particular poison.

In the way that a Lionel Smit or Dylan Lewis speaks to its audience in a myriad of ways, so wine shows itself differently to different people. Whether looking at a sculpture on the lawns of Delaire Graff in the Cape Winelands or sipping Chardonnay on its verandah, what we read into the work gives us a little glimpse into ourselves. Wine is the window to the soul, you could say… Our preferred style of Rorschach test.

For Rylan Gentles, Head Sommelier of Delaire Graff Restaurant, it’s about the art and the pleasure of it all.

Delaire Graff

Rylan pours us a glass of his white reserve over a lunch of pan-seared cob, squid with hake and lemon mousse, tamarind gel, cauliflower puree, pumpkin and ginger gnocchi, at Delaire Graff one Autumn afternoon, and explains his art to us:

“To me wine is an art, it is special and I look at it as bottled poetry. Every bottle of wine tells its own story. It gives a sense of place and it is giving thought to the time, dedication and hard work that went into creating it which enhance the joy of each sip.

Each wine is different in its own way. There are so many wine styles and grape varieties which have their own distinct smell and taste. My favourite grape is chardonnay because of its versatility. It can be enjoyed with or without food, at lunch or dinner, with friends and family. From the delicate lighter styles to the more full and textured with luscious fruit and aromas, chardonnay is a wonderful cultivar to explore.

Wine is my passion and it’s made for pure enjoyment, bringing people together. Wine is a lifestyle and my favourite thing about is that you can never get bored. There is so much to learn and the wine world is evolving every day with new techniques, vintages and creativity of winemakers.”

Tell us in the comments section what your favourite thing about wine is, what it is that compels you in the search for the perfect bottle, and take a look at some images from our visit below.

Delaire Graff Estate

Delaire Graff Restaurant

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

A Touch of Madness – Ellerman House

Veronica

“Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.” 

So claimed French writer, Marguerite Duras. This spark of the unusual is one of many things that endears you instantly to Ellerman House‘s Head Chef, Veronica Canha-Hibbert. A spark that ignites similarly in her two children. Perhaps it is the artistic licence of one in the culinary arts, a trait I have detected in many a Relais & Châteaux Africa chef. Perhaps it is simply the way of a mother.

In its most honest, unconditional form, motherhood demands a little ‘strange’, a little ‘crazy’. Like love itself, “a temporary insanity,” as Ambrose Bierce wrote. And Marilyn French, who described love as, “the taking over of a rational and lucid mind by delusion and self-destruction. You lose yourself, you have no power over yourself, you can’t even think straight.”

The Hibberts

Like a painter lost in her strokes, a writer furiously channeling his words from mind to paper, a chef, in the heat of her kitchen, where all time escapes into aromas and tastes passed between bowl and senses. Or a mother reveling in the African sun with her children, with nowhere else she’d rather be…

Veronica is one such mother. Madly unconditional in her love for her children – and her kitchen. Today, we take a last look at our Mothers of Africa for this year, with a glimpse at motherhood through the eyes of a chef.

Veronica Hibbert

Veronica’s secrets for motherhood

What does being a mother mean to you?

Everything. Being a mother completely changed me and my perspective. It was humbling. My children don’t worry about tomorrow, and they forget about yesterday, they live in the moment and they make me realise that each moment is precious and to be present in each moment I have with them.

Children

A favourite adage of today’s featured mother

As a mother, what have you tried to instill in your children about life, love and the wilderness?

For me the best way to instill anything in your child is to live it, so they can see your example. I want to raise my children to live life to the fullest, to believe in themselves and to not let anyone else set limitations for them. And to give them the confidence to follow their dreams.

When it comes to love, to be with someone who makes them laugh and that everyone deserves to be loved, especially on those days when they don’t feel too loveable.

And as for the wilderness, The Canha-Hibbert Clan are a city bunch. Boulders Beach penguins are as wild as we get… before we dash back to the V&A Waterfront for coffee.

Mother and Daughter

Mother and Daughter in the kitchen at Ellerman House

Discover our other Mothers of Africa in The Passion of Compassion at Camp Jabulani and The Mothers of Londolozi.