Now for the crazies. Writer TO Molefe writes in an opinion piece on news24 that “National Braai Day have conjured all of the white supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy’s powers to overrun and overpower the original intentions of commemorating the day. Originally, the day was proposed by the IFP to remember Shaka kaSenzangakhona, but an unfounded fear that granting an official national day to commemorate a Zulu hero might suborn “tribalism” resulted in a consensus compromise. The day would be called Heritage Day, for all South Africans to remember their heroes, histories and cultures.
But Jan (Braai, the brains behind or Braai Day), acting in obliviousness to the day’s origins, rapped on the doors of supermarket chains, abattoirs and breweries, and convinced them to join his campaign to turn Heritage Day into National Braai Day. Of course sensing the opportunity to use a national day to spur consumerism and their own profitability, like they do on Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter, these corporations said yes, and dedicated resources to the cause.
They also spent oodles in advertising, marketing and other forms of communication that upheld the idea that braaing is gendered, with the division of labour such that men stand around the fire drinking beer and cooking meat while women make salad and drink ‘pink drinks’ in the kitchen. Instead of resisting this patriarchal notion that housework such as cooking is for women, braaing as marketed reinforces it by designating making a fire and tanning chops a “man’s job” and banishes women to the kitchen.
That, by the way, isn’t the heritage of cooking around a fire I and many other black South Africans grew up with. Many of us grew up seeing our mothers, aunts and grandmothers fetch the firewood and kindling with which they made an open fire and cooked. That was gendered, too. But this history and the contribution of these women to the institution of braaing was nonetheless erased from the public imagining by the marketing juggernaut of the white supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy, which respects neither the histories of black folk nor the contributions of women.”
What to you think?