Gaborone — George Bernard Shaw once said there is no sincerer love than the love of food. We may love our partners, children, sports teams or our parents, but nothing quite matches the love we have for our food.
Food has and will always be an integral part of our everyday life and it has evolved over the years to processed foods; which some experts have labelled as having adverse effects on the diet and health of most people.
Health experts have of recent been calling for people to eat more traditional/indigenous food and ease-off of processed food with some pronouncing that traditional/indigenous food remains an important source of many nutrients.
Living in Gaborone, some city dwellers have said it is hard for one to find traditional cuisine and if you do happen to come across a place that cooks/sells traditional food, it puts a dent in one's pocket, but not at Botswanacraft.
Established in 1970 by the Botswana Development Corporation to develop the rural based handicraft industry of the country, Botswanacraft introduced its courtyard restaurant in 2010 and it has been the place of authentic traditional cuisine ever since, besides its core function of being the go to place for handicrafts.
Speaking in an interview with BOPA, Sibongile Macala, assistant general manager at Botswanacraft said the general manager of Botswanacraft; being Oliver Martin Groth, saw that the place was missing the aspect of having traditional food after the many years it had been operating.
"It was more of a craft space and after so many years of operation, he saw that it was missing the aspect of having traditional cuisine on the go and people should note that Botswanacraft was not located here at first," she said, adding that Botswanacraft provides tasty traditional dishes prepared in a traditional way.
She indicated that the courtyard provides a space for people to enjoy the crafts, traditional food and music and the same time taking in the breeze and ambience Botswanacraft is renowned for.
Koko ya Setswana e gadikilwe, nama ya nku e gadikilwe kana ele stew, morogo wa Setswana, morogo wa Setswana ka manoko, bogobe jwa lerotse, phaletshe, madombi, seswaa sa kgomo, nama ya podi e gadikilwe kana ele stew and nama ya kgaka are just some of the tasty traditional dishes that one finds at Botswanacraft and for reasonable prices.
Macala indicated that the courtyard looks to give people the full cultural experience and what better way to do it than with Setswana traditional cuisine.
"When you walk into Botswanacraft you feel like you are in a haven of culture. We have always been about culture and food is an important aspect of culture. We also have a bit of Southern Africa culture because even though our mandate is Botswana culture, we also showcase other cultures within SADC," she said, adding that some of the crafts at Botswanacraft come from other parts of Southern Africa.
On how many people they employ for the courtyard, Sibongile said they roughly have around 25 employees.
"We also try by all means to source our food locally and not necessarily from the big businesses/suppliers but also from the small local farmers because we want to support local," she said.
Traditional food has been known to have various benefits among them being helpful for weight control, less saturated fat which is better for the heart, has more iron (better for muscles and blood), more zinc which helps wound healing and fighting infection, more Vitamin A (better for vision and fighting disease and more calcium (better for strong bones and teeth).
Source : BOPA