The food history of the people of South Africa is largely forgotten — it is neither widely known, celebrated, nor shared within, or outside of indigenous communities. Does this void mean that South Africa’s extraordinarily diverse people might have lost a vital piece of their greatness? And if so, how could they get it back? These are the questions that Nompumelelo Mqwebu kept asking, and set out to find answers to. She was bothered that wherever she went in South Africa, the restaurant and hotel scene did not offer the diversity of the country’s indigenous food. Her obvious passion for Africa, and her curious disposition, combined to propel her to leave a thriving corporate career to enrol at a cooking school. There, somewhat predictably, she was confronted by a cooking curriculum dominated by cultures other than her own. Later in her career, driven by the need to fill a gaping void, she set out to do her own research, and consolidated that work in a book called Through the Eyes of an African Chef. She concludes this talk by sharing tantalising examples from the book that challenge negative stereotypes about the presentation, and preparation, of African food. She does this on-screen, and through a live demonstration. Bon appétit!
Chef, Author This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at