By Marita van Rooyen
As butter and jam are synonymous for that perfect slice of toast, so is Southern Africa and the braai tradition.
(Not from around here and wondering what a braai is? Simple. It’s pretty much the art of grilling any kind of food you can possibly imagine (although pineapples are apparently not the top choice) on a grill over an open fire).
We all know it, we all do it, and we all love it. So, why all the hoo-hah?
Well, we blame Jan. Jan Braai to be exact, who started the “revolution to unite 50 million people” – braai tongs in hand! Sounds impossible? Well, with a good piece of meat (or fish, or chicken, and if you absolutely must, vegetables) and a crackling fire, anything is possible in Jan’s eyes!
Sandile Memela of The Star sums it up, “Curiously, an unknown figure like Jan Scannell (his “real” name) has suddenly become a name familiar to millions of lips as he has become an agent of change who wants to see people “burn the past into blackness”.
He epitomises the spirit of concerned people who want to shape the cultural direction that the country should take.” National Braai Day is Jan’s answer to bringing the nation together annually on South Africa’s National Heritage Day in September.
But why stop here? With Archbishop Desmond Tutu as patron the braai word is literally going viral! A dedicated web page hosts recipes, braai words (you can even invent and submit your own), information on boerewors, celebrity braais, and even a National Braai Day song. “The braai” has now become a much-loved television show, with Jan travelling all corners of Southern Africa to explore the very special art of grilled cooking.
In line with testing the region’s best firewood, boerewors, and filet steaks, Jan and his team of paparazzi travelled Namibia recently, and found a number of famous spots to shoot the art of braaing – Nam style. Getting the fire started with Sanet Prinsloo – our very own boerewors promoter and much-loved food concoctor – in Windhoek, the team increased the heat with braais at the coast, in Etosha, Kavango, Caprivi, Kamanjab, Brandberg and Twyfelfontein. And why here, in Namibia, under age-old camelthorn trees and amongst dusty desert sands? “Because it’s lekker here!” say Jan.
Season three of Jan Braai vir Erfenis kicks off on 5 July, every Friday during prime time (from 19:30) on KykNet. “Most importantly, light a fire, and braai on 24 September!” or any other day of the year…