As with any good story, let’s start at the beginning. Remember when everyone was cooking and baking like crazy during COVID-19 lockdown levels 5 and 4? Social media exploded with images of freshly baked goods and food that brought all the nostalgic feelings to the fore. Well, Ingrid Jones, Co-founder and Executive Director of Mikateko Media, can spot a trend coming. So, when her friend Ruby Marks, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, shared a Facebook post about her attempt at making bobotie far away from home, Ingrid knew something bigger was brewing.
Ruby’s post was written in a way that made you miss your mom. She was inspired to create the bobotie when she saw Ingrid’s own bobotie recipe in a past issue of Woolworths TASTE magazine. She narrated her cooking process vividly, invoking her late mother: “En net in time hoor ek my oorle’ ma se stem, ‘waassie liefde?’ En ek gooi gou sout en pieper oo’ die mixture en mix maa’ wee’. Daai vrou rescue my time and again.”
With her bobotie successfully made, Ruby concluded that her dish could easily feature in Woolworths Taste magazine, a publication that usually made her feel like an outsider. “Ma’ ek voel nogal dit kan feature langsaan Ingrid sń in Woolies se Taste magazine wat my altyd lat voel asof ń Cape Flats girl ma’ net kan kyk... totdat sy sien dat ha’ girl oek daa’ feature.”
An online conversation started and it quickly turned into an idea to publish a book to showcase recipes shared during lockdown, alongside the amazing stories and memories these evoked. “For the people, by the people,” Ingrid proclaimed. On 1 June, she created the Lockdown Recipe Storytelling Book (LRSB) group on Facebook, made a call for submissions, and off she went in search of a book publisher.
Almost immediately, the stories and recipes came streaming in. The contributors shared generously and beautifully. Ingrid realised that this project couldn’t end with the recipe book, so the team at Mikateko Media created a business plan for a quarterly magazine – and Koe’sister was born.
Ingrid explained: “Across communities and even continents, Facebook and food became the glue that kept people together. Some groups, initially formed to exchange recipes, went beyond sharing on social media. Pots were dusted off and soup and biryani were distributed where it was most needed. Ordinary South Africans stepped up to care for the thousands of people left without an income or a way to sustain themselves during the lockdown. Koe’sister was born from one such Facebook group: LRSB.”
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