Thursday, February 14, 2013


Thembi's Wonder Bread. I couldn't wait to get stuck in.                                            Lauren
A couple of weeks ago my friend and domestic worker Thembi arrived at my spot with her steamed bread. As usual I cheekily plucked a chunk of it, stuffed it into my mouth and told her how yummy it was. She explained that she had made it in a wonder-bag (basically an insulation box), which saved her about two and a half hours of cooking time. Now this was worth checking out, so Thembi and I hatched a plan to do a stills shoot of her making it in her home.

In the mirror, I'm making emergency plans with Thembi           Prague
I invited my friend Lauren to come along to take some pics: with a big smile she asked ’when?’ Before I could say pomegranate the stills shoot turned into a video blog as well. I’m still trying to get my head around how it all happened.

Moose picking his gap           Prague
Even this couldn't stop Moose   Prague
So there we were, a load of ‘umlungus’ (whities) squashed into Moose’s ‘bakkie’ (a South Africanism for pick-up truck), bumping our way merrily along to meet Thembi in Khayelitsha (Cape Town’s largest shack settlement). We had a little problem though. We had planned to meet her next to the main road but, lo and behold, about a 4km section of road had been blocked at either end by a barricade of burning tires and Thembi was waiting slap bang in the middle. It was a protest organized by some local parents because of the lack of schools for their children in the area. Moose, a seasoned veteran of shoots in ‘iffy circumstances’, quickly set up the GoPro (little camera) and told me to hang on to the back of the vehicle and film. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea, but Moose is very big and mostly talks sense, so I listened and not-so-confidently hung onto the back of his ‘bakkie’ while he ramped the curb and drove straight past the disbelieving policemen at the cordon (sometimes it’s all about confidence). We found Thembi and jammed her into the vehicle as well. Now I was hanging onto the outside of the ‘bakkie’, not only to film, but also to make space for Thembi.

Dry ingredients & giggles                                                                                                     Lauren
When we arrived at her place, we felt completely safe and were warmly welcomed by the community. In spite of the dwellings having no running water or electricity there exists a wonderful sense of neighbourhood pride.

Ready to come out of the Wonder Bag & more giggles.                             Lauren
Soon we were jostling for space in Thembi’s cosy home. Everybody busied themselves with their little tasks while Thembi went about making her steamed bread. It all ended up in a delightful little bread and jam party, enjoyed by extended family and curious neighbors. I hope that we do many more blogs in this amazing community.

Moose films even more giggles                         Lauren
Oh yes! The food part of this blog will appear as a video blog in the near future. Watch this space…

Thanks to Moose for directing the shoot, to Lauren for her beautiful stills, to Jane for operating the second camera, to Prague (Ingrid) for the back-up in every department, to Ailsa for her homemade jams, but mostly thanks to Thembi for being such a gracious host, for the giggles and for the fine bread. ‘Enkosi Thembi’ (‘thank you Thembi”).


Lauren & Jane                                        Prague

Setting up in Thembi's home       Prague

Thembi's Wonder Bread & Wicked Stepmother jams              Lauren

Thembi's neighbors, Nothobani & Andiswa join the bread & jam party                                                                Lauren

Thembi's sister, Ntombozuko & her son Sinethemba Lauren

Thembi, 'The Wonderful'                                                                         Lauren

Thembi's neighbors boy, Ndoda deciding if he like lime marmalade or not                                                             Lauren


  1. A good mate of mine uses one of these to cook his rice, once brought to the boil, you leave it to finish the job, and the beauty is it will never overcook the rice!

  2. ja kayo, they're brilliant for rice. every kitchen should have at least one.

  3. Cool, new readers were asking about the Wonderbag, link to the website would be great.