In celebration of Knysna Municipality offering the Old Gaol premises in Queen Street to the Green Chefs, a Knysna & Partners’ initiative to develop as a Coffee Shop / Bistro, Glendyrr Fick, Knysna & Partners; Trade and Development presented a Culture journey to stakeholders and friends on Thursday, September 10.
“I am so excited that we will now be able to offer our past finalists an opportunity to serve their food to the public and gain invaluable experience in what running a successful restaurant entails,” said a smiling and proud Fick.
“I could not be more proud of Glendyrr and her team. She had a vision of finally assisting the Green Chefs in running their own restaurant, being responsible for their own business plan and everything else entailed in running a business. With the kind offer of the Knysna Municipality her and the Green Chefs dream can start taking shape, once the formalities have been finalised.” said Knysna & Partners CEO, Greg Vogt.
Knysna loved and respected resident, Municipal Speaker and Knysna & Partners board member, Eleanore Bouw-Spies welcomed guests to Fick’s Knysna Cultural Journey at the Old Gaol inviting guests to enjoy the evening celebrating Knysna’s rich culture.
To start the evening the Imbongi or Praise Singers entered the Old Goal singing the praises of Knysna in their unmistakable high-pitched voices and vigorous performance. Traditionally the Imbongi, the official to the court of a Chief’s role included the recording of praise-names, victories and laudable characteristics of that Chief. They would then recite a praise poem, known as the Izibongo in praise of the Chief at public events.
The Green Chefs prepared a delicious three course meal that allowed for a main course choice of mutton stew, vegetarian curry and tripe and trotters potjie. Local author and tourism blogger, Martin Hatchuel said that it was the best vegetarian curry that he had ever eaten.
During the soup starter, Siya Maginana, a local Knysna actor performed a moving monologue that spoke of a man who had found the love of his life. Just to lose her as a result of his insecurities and alcohol addiction. The emotions that Magninana’s passionate art evoked was clearly visible.
Bouw-Spies introduced the Kranshoek Griqua People’s Kranshoek Riel Dancer and said: “The Griqua are a racially and culturally mixed people who originated in the intermarriages and sexual relations between European colonists in the Cape and the Khoikhoi living during the 17th and 18th centuries. They have a strong cultural identity, and enjoy First Nation status with the United Nations.”
She added that the Rieldance group travelled from the Kranshoek Community, an original Griqua Settlement. “It is inspiring to see how the youth embrace their culture, and bring it to life for everyone to appreciate,” said Bouw-Spies.
After loud ululation in appreciation of the Rieldancers, Bouw-Spies smiled and explained that what she thought was their performance, was actually a warm up dance. Without much ado the Rieldancers took to the performance area and performed another beautiful Riel Dance, recognised as part of their cultural expression.
“It is said that if you have ever stood in the middle of a dusty arena, surrounded by jiving and jinking Riel dancers in the throes of an ancient courtship ritual, you can consider yourself as been privileged to be part of a special cultural event that has been revived throughout the Karoo and Cederberg region,” said Bouw-Spies.
“Born out of traditional Khoi and San ceremonial dances around the fire, it has been practiced by descendants of the indigenous South African cultures for many years, most of whom were sheep shearers and farm workers from across the Cape. It is interesting to note that each Xhoi-San group has their own Riel dance style,” explained Fick, a proud Griqua herself.
The details surrounding the Green Chefs proposed pop-up restaurant are not yet finalised. “Keep a close eye on the media. We are sure to release the final details soon,” concluded Fick.
In closing Vogt expressed his appreciation for the artists saying that this new Green Chef pop-up restaurant / Coffee Shop is going to go a long way in enhancing the town’s visitors experience. “This venue lends itself perfectly to poetry nights with the local communities and so much more. I am really excited about this new venture and wish Glendyrr and all involved only the best.”•