The Festive Season: by Team Tanda Tula

This festive season, we asked the Tanda Tula team what Christmas means to them…..


What I remember most clearly is only being allowed to open one present before going to church. We were not traditional with food and always had a braai at Christmas, but my mum made up for it by going overboard with decorations! Having lived in America we had tons of cool Christmas stuff and there were always two trees. The greatest honour was putting the star on the top!


We would be woken up early by my parents and run outside to see the sunrise because we were told that the sun was dancing and that meant it was Christmas. What I remember the most clearly was having both rice and strawberry jam – these two luxury foods were only given on Christmas and when we saw them, we knew it was a special day of the year.


Christmas for me is about going to church and celebrating with my community as well as the new clothes. It was a day that also meant eating lots of culturally non-traditional food and instead, more Western food. The whole family would sit around the table, eating with a knife and fork, and enjoy a special meal together.


I was born on the 24th December so generally I never loved Christmas, the focus was always on Christmas and not my Birthday! What I did love though, was Christmas meant new clothes. On the 25th we were given new clothes for the year ahead – that was the only part that appealed to me!


On Christmas we always go to church in the morning, then all three sisters and my mum would cook together while the men sat outside drinking beer. There was always a big traditional Christmas lunch, followed by some necessary rest time. Spending time with my family is so special, all being together.


Growing up Christmas was always presents, followed by church and then a rather untraditional rolled, deboned leg of lamb with potatoes and gravy. Dessert was where things kicked in though: my dad loved to make an old-fashioned traditional Christmas pudding stuffed with coins and served with delicious South African ultra-mel custard!