A unique gastronomic experience that infuses the heritage of the San people has been launched at the !Khwa ttu San Heritage and Education Centre outside Yzerfontein on the Cape West Coast.

The “Food from the Ancestors” project gives visitors the chance to learn about the indigenous plants used by the San and has been incorporated into its menu.

The South African San Council says the initiative also gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of hunter-gatherers.

!Kwha ttu is a San centre where young people from across Southern African can come for a cultural and ecotourism learning experience. It’s also a tourism site where visitors can opt between different accommodation venues and tours which explore the culture and history of the San.

From foraging in the veld to showcasing a typical San village,!Khwa ttu is about sharing the ways of the San. The Chairperson of the South African San Council, Colin Louw, says now visitors will also be able to taste the food indigenous people used to eat from the veld.

“There are many plant foods we thought would be good to use on the menu so that visitors can see what type of food our ancestors would eat. It is very important for the South African San Council to be part of such a significant day.”

A tour guide at the centre, Nunke Khadimo, says visitors can also forage for plants to prepare a meal with other locally-sourced ingredients sourced.

“We go to the nature and we collect food that our people back in the day used like herbs and also potato, and the bush cabbage that we collect from the fields and what we call is a slangbessie which is almost like a bushman tomato, it is red and it is very small and it is also tasty a little bit sweet.”

The project is one of 11 supported by the provincial government’s Tourism Product Development Fund launched last year. It includes the new menu and self-guided trails.

Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier elaborates:

“This is a great example where we have invested in a new food experience that celebrates San culture and heritage and that has assisted to develop the site to sustain the site, to sustain the jobs at the site and most importantly to sustain some of the downstream businesses that support !Khwa ttu.”

A sneak preview of the new menu includes Askoek served with honey butter and West Coast seafood with the freshest locally sourced ingredients.