Liesbeeck Garden’s Weekend Adventures Pt. 1- LBG
Gina, Patrick and Kara (American University)
Even though we’ve only been here a month, the South African lingo is most certainly catching on.I’ve heard students saying “Howzit,” “queue,” and, most commonly, “braai” to refer to South African barbeques. A braai is essentially a glorified American barbeque. While Americans make hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, sometimes some ribs or corn, braais take that to the next level.
South African braais include chicken, ribs, lamb, sausage- boerewors, potato salad, bean salad, rolls, and tons of other delicious sides! All of the meat is marinated in delicious spices and is cooked on grill made out of a huge drum barrel with grates on the top. Braaing is about more than having great food; it’s about getting together for a fun time.
Last weekend, Liesbeek Gardens and Forest Hill organized a braai together at the Liebeeck Pool. Our RAs, Carol, Namhle, and Vongani bought all of the food and supplies and a few of us met up early to help prepare the sides. I helped in the prep group and we all went to one of Carol’s friends apartments where we did some cutting and watched them cook traditional braai food. Eventually we left the kitchen to Carol’s friends who finished up the cooking while we headed downstairs to enjoy the braai.
Around 16:00 (or 16:30-16:45 “Africa time”), everyone from Forest Hill and Liesbeeck met up for the braai. Liesbeeck residents invited their flatmates to the braai as well. After hearing everyone rave about their South African flatmates for weeks, it was great to meet a lot of them. We all hung out by the pool and swam while Vongani, Stanley, and a couple other people manned the grill. Some people played Marco Polo and other water games in the pool. I had a great time talking to my friends’ flatmates and hearing about their experiences at UCT and as a South African native. It was a fun, relaxed atmosphere and was a great chance for everyone to mingle and get to know each other. Some people played basketball and football on the side of the pool and at one point Quinton, our program director, and his son stopped by to say hi!
After smelling the meat cooking on the grill for what seemed like forever, the food was ready and it was time to eat! Everyone piled their plates high with chicken, lamb, beef, potato and green salads, and traditional South African sides (including a delicious spicy bean salad). Everyone sat on the ground by the pool in a big circle and chatted while eating their delicious food! I think everyone went back for seconds and thirds because the food was so good!
Everyone had a great time getting to know fellow CIEE students, their flatmates, and other South Africans. It wasn’t one of the first or last braais of the semester, it was certainly one of the best! Thank you Carol, Vongs, Namhle, and Stanley for helping get it all together!
By Gina Maffucci - American University