Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe comprise the southernmost part of mainland and island Africa. Typified by cities and super-highways, as well as villages and mud tracks, they also have forests that merge into grasslands and deserts that become mountains, while rivers flow into seas. The region’s human history is equally layered as First Nation Bushman inhabitants were subsequently joined by Bantu-speaking people migrating from further north in Africa, then by European and Asian settlers. As such, the resulting food cultures are infused with a variety of influences and ancestry but, for every point of difference, there is also a striking similarity.
Across southern Africa, sorghum and millet were the original indigenous grains. In the modern era, maize has become the staple starch.
On mainland southern Africa, key cultural and community events are often celebrated and/or commiserated, nose to tail – from naming ceremonies to funerals – in beef. Whether slow-cooked like Zimbabwe’s Ndebele-style amangqina (beef trotters) and South Africa’s Xhosa umsila wenkomo (oxtail stew) or speedily seared as steaks at an Afrikaner braai, beef marks major collective moments. With cows comes dairy – most commonly fermented and variously known as amasi in South Africa, omaere in Namibia and madila in Botswana. Chicken