Our family has been in South Africa for almost a year now. To be honest the transition so far has been pretty easy. Traveling in the States and mission trips to other places helped us be a bit prepared for ‘different.’ Much of the time we think South Africa isn’t so foreign, and other times we are very aware of the differences.
Barbecues are a bit of a universal gathering that differs from place to place. In South Africa and Namibia they are called a braai. We have only been to a few, but they must be common here because homes often have built in braai areas.
At a braai, sometimes you bring your own meats, throw them on the grill and bring side dishes or salads to share, then it would be called a bring and braai. I think this is great because it takes a lot of the stress of hosting off the host family. You don’t have to spend a lot of time prepping food, or be responsible for feeding a dozen people. It also fits the causal atmosphere of the Durban area well.
One new food item to us in South Africa is also a staple to a braai, the boerewors. It is a long spiraled sausage. It comes seasoned with a blend of spices and is made predominantly with beef. It is different from a bratwurst in size, texture, taste and composition so it was a shock to us at first. Boerewors have really grown on us, but we do miss bratwursts sometimes. I try to make it once a week or so because they are pretty affordable. Just like any other sausage, they go great with potatoes, a family favorite.
Here we were also experiencing lights out, but we had boerewors for dinner that night. The kids love it when we eat by candlelight.
We recently went to a home-school family bring and braai. The kids had so much fun and I think they are finally making some friends. I am glad they ask about grandparents and friends back in the States, but having local friends will also help them feel at home.
So there you have it, the definition of a braai. It is a wonderful way to spend time with people that is not so different.