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Women’s month, celebrating the angels in our homes.

This post is dedicated to Women’s month and all the angels in our homes.

I started writing this post last Sunday before South Africa again was turned into turmoil with women being the target of abuse, murder, and rape. So it feels quite poignant to post this today. I want to honor and celebrate all the brave, strong, joyous, hardworking women and mothers of South Africa today and I pray that we could all feel safe and protected. May good men rise up and show respect, may they teach their children how to treat a lady and may more fathers stand up and be there for their children!

At the beginning of August, I was kept awake one night by an idea to honor the wonderful ladies that I have had the wonderful privilege to teach. It was supposed to be for women’s month, I missed the deadline. That often happens when you are a one-man show. So even though it is not women’s month anymore, I would like to pause and applaud these ladies.

As part of my classes, I also teach a basic cooking course for domestic workers. These are some of my favourite classes because these ladies are so eager to learn and overjoyed with the new world that opens up for them.

They proudly send me pictures of the food they made and the feedback they get from their employers.

These ladies are always friendly and on time despite traveling from the other side of the city on public transport without google maps. They are excited about being able to identify herbs, working with new ingredients and being able to cook for their own families.

Despite difficult circumstances, they provide for their families, often as single mothers but they want to keep on learning and develop their skills and improve themselves.

I celebrate all the employers that invest in their helpers; sending them on courses, paying school fees for their children, sponsoring driving lessons, collecting clothes and blankets when shacks burn down. Borrowing money when the needs are too high. I see you, the good you are trying to do. In the end, we all need each other in our patchwork country. Trying to build, create jobs and survive.

Of the many domestic workers, I trained over the years I want to introduce you to a few that was available to come to our photoshoot. They are also some of the most memorable ones with loads of character and warm hearts. They dressed up and showed up in all their glory!

Bekezela Mlalazi {Bridget}

Bridget is very special; She comes from Zimbabwe and has lived in South Africa for many years. She is strong and caring and a women of integrity. She was also the first adult student I trained when I started Wooden spoon kitchen.

She worked for a Belgium family and I went to their home to teach Bridget. They have since moved back to Belgium but she still works in the same home for a new family. I can also remember a Jamie Oliver tomato soup that did not go according to plan and another time when I left the bones in a lamb stew which is very lekker for us but not for Europeans:).

She has the biggest smile and has gained so much confidence in the kitchen. Her specialty is garlic prawns and her dream is to be able to learn how to take care of the elderly.

Nompilo Ncube

Nompilo is such a little firecracker and one of the few people that is actually shorter than me. She is so funny!

She is also from Zimbabwe and likes to dress up. Her daughter has a small food business in Zimbabwe and Nompilo bought her a deep fryer to get started.

She is a woman with a plan and took on board everything that I taught her and kept on practicing. Her dream is to become a chef and open a restaurant.

It was a big day for her when she ‘graduated’ and she was so proud of her certificate and achievement. We had to take a ton of pictures to document her big day.

Beatrice Strauss {Ayanda}

This lady got style and is so elegant! Ayanda knows how to dress and always looks like she is heading to a corporate job. I personally think styling will be a great career for her.

She is always working to better herself and recently got her drivers license and is working on her Matric certificate.

Ayanda feels so confident with her cooking skills she is even entertaining friends. Her cooking might be going a little to well because her husband has gained a bit of weight :).

If she gets stuck with recipes she watches Youtube videos. Well done Ayanda so proud of you!

Abigail Tafadzwa Mupezeni

Just look at that smile! Abigail is also from Zimbabwe. She is so capable and confident in the kitchen.

She confidently proclaims that she can cook anything now and that she improved a lot since coming for her first class.

She loves to bake cakes and also makes healthy food. She is quick to share her wisdom and advice with other students.

Her dream is to teach others how to cook. You have come so far, Abigail. Well done! I am sure your family loves all the food you cook for them.

Just a small group of ladies living in South Africa, they all have dreams and struggles. Some are local and some from other countries, they make friends in class and support each other. I am honored to teach them.

Read more about the basic course on the blog

Thanks to my friend Tracey Kelsey for taking these beautiful portraits and the ladies that came to our meet-up.

Ankie Niesing

Hi, I'm Ankie! Welcome to Wooden Spoon Kitchen, my pantry of life, love and health where we constantly stir laughter, learning, eating and cooking together!

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