Siphiwe Giba

Easy Sunday Afrasian Soup 

We spent about 3 hours on the streets of Cryildene looking for ingredients we needed to buy for our meal that evening. We were in the heart of an Asian food market- with fresh produce for days, luscious greens and root vegetables everywhere-it’s surprising we managed to walk away with stuff, we were quarter to buying everything they had. We saw everything from shark to cabbage. We got what we needed and drove to our next fresh produce market.

Yeoville- mini Africa, where you can literally find any African product you need. Fish that costs R700 but you don’t eat the fish, it’s used for broth, to paletine (banana that’s hard) to other burnt/flamed grilled meats. The Yeoville stop was a short one, I think at this stage we just wanted to get cooking and eating.

Khanya : Yo! Siphwe shout if you need help, like we can cut and chop things up for you if you’d like. 

*Bob Marley playing in the background- on a cassette*

Siphiwe: The kitchen is small, so we going to prep here in the dining room.

Shannon: But Giba, your energy is so calm dude- are you capable of getting upset?

Shannon ,Khanya, Giba: *laughing*

Giba: No I am not calm *laughing*

Khanya: Yea man I haven’t seen you upset or even angry and I’ve known you for over 3 years. Even if someone doesn’t pay you, or fucks with your work- even then dude.

Siphwe: *chopping up the vegetables*

Khanya: It’s just disrespectful to tell me, something if you feel a certain kind of way. 

Siphwe: Yea that’s very similar to me 

Khanya: So I have to be honest with you, relationships all work the same way. If I claim to be your friend I have to be able to tell you “hey man you’re fucking up now” 

Mariam: If your friends don’t tell you uh huh hhu who’s going to tell you? They don’t love you then, like when your friends let you go out looking ridiculous

Shannon, Khanya, Siphwe and Mariam: *laughing*

*Mariam and Siphwe continue cutting and washing the vegetables at the table*





Khanya: So Giba what are you currently working on?

Giba: Currently working on the Café, in the hood, Tsakane, dusty streets. *laughs* a way from jhb. It’s kind of cool, the place is very chilled. Uhm and there is room for opportunities as well. In terms of…

Shannon: Is it ready?

Siphwe: No, so it is not ready, I have the container and I kind of have to do the interior design. Chop it out, put windows. And I am also creating a space where people can chill on top.

Khanya: Oh yeah yeah yeah.

Mariam: Do you have the designs?

Siphwe: Yeah I have the designs. I am working with this other guy and he is going to put it together. He has an architectural background-nyana, so he is going to put it together. He also works with steel. So basically it’s going to be steel and wood, and glass windows. The space is called Wolf & Co. A lot of people call me Wolf so it’s basically me. It’s going to be my personality into the space. We will cook different meals. Each and every time we will change the food, so I will have themed nights as well where I just cook something very random. There will be live bands, music and dj’s and stuff like that. In between I want to create a space whereby people can just pop in, work and eat, have different coffees.

Khanya: In the area you are in right now are you guys contributing to what’s already happening, or is the container going to be the first one in Tsakane? 

Siphwe: Uhm there are couple of guys a block away from where my container will be, they have a concept shop and across the road there is a tattoo parlour. So what we’re planning to do in the near future is activate that whole space. Already on Sundays they do something different, they offer a time to chill listen to house. On Saturdays it’s more of curated space where people are skating, very chilled vibes, and live bands.

Khanya: Juxtapose? Is there a future for that or is it still on hold?

Siphwe: It’s on ice now- but future plans, we’ve made a 2m x 1.2m big roll of fabric and I will start to manufacture cushions, material as well. And then in a year or 2 years I want to start doing textile art.

Khanya: I know you as a graphic designer, but it seems to me that you lean towards art more, and craft. Look at what happened with the cushions, you got disheartened as soon as you saw that everyone was doing the same thing and printing out, but creating it on digital. And it seems like what upset you was the lack of craft?

Siphwe; Yea man.

Khanya: How do you balance the two, because I know a lot of corporate freelance work which is more art direction and design, and everything that you do personally is art and crafted?

Siphwe: Sure…when you are a digital designer you can lose touch because everything is you using your computer to express whatever it is. You lose that touch of actually sweating and doing something manual and I made a promise to myself to actually go back there and start doing manual things.

Khanya: There is a certain soul that goes into the work when you do it with your hand…

Siphwe: Yes

Khanya: I remember when I was doing wood work, you would be touching things, painting things, and putting your work together it has an aura and a character.

Siphwe: Exactly

Khanya: So now let’s chat about the food, do you see it as an extension of your creative side?

Siphwe: Sort of *laughs* actually yes *still laughing* feel like there is so much you can do with food. You need to be creative in order to make use of the ingredients you have. I love food, I love to eat. So that’s what I decided to do. I used to have dinner parties and people would come and eat. An as a creative you’re always having conversations with different people, so there was a need for food and drinks. 

Khanya: It’s a good drawing point.

Siphwe: Yea that’s how it all started, from the dinner parties. 

Khanya: Do you gather inspiration from a recipe book, or do you do what we did this morning, and just walk through a market and see what you like, and what you might be able to put together?

Siphwe: Yea that’s basically it. It’s more like an impulse and reacting to different tastes.

Khanya: Do you ever cook the same thing twice?

Siphwe: Most of the time, but it depends if I want to master the dish. The first time I made curries and stews it took me awhile to actually find the balance where I was comfortable with the dishes. 

Shannon: Do you still enjoy your Mother’s cooking?

Siphwe: *laughs* actually now she enjoys my cooking. Even my Dad now, he doesn’t want to eat what my mother makes. Haha it’s funny.

Shannon: Did you find it hard to cook for them at first? You know our parents always made us eat the same things. Rice and potatoes everyday type things. Like you know what’s for supper when you’re at school still.

Siphwe: What I do is make what they are used to but make it different, add a twist to it. They still need to be familiar with the dish to eat it. But they enjoy it. The other day there was a stokvel, my Father’s came and I had to make something and the weather was cold and grey, it was nice, so what I did was make stew and mngqusho (samp and beans). 

Shannon: So many cooks can’t bake? But some can? Are you good at both?

Siphwe: *laughs* I actually can’t bake, but what I want to do is learn, because I want to start making my own breads. There must be a short course. Like proper bread. Not steam breads, that’s easy. Again it will be good for the shop because I want everything to be as homemade as possible. So I am going to have a garden at the back. Fresh ingredients will be used in my meals. 

Khanya: So everything has be chopped and washed for today’s meal, what are you making?

Siphwe:: I don’t even have a name, everything is random *laughs*. So I will call it Easy Sunday Soup

Khanya: Hey man, Mariam (January) you knew most of those Asian vegetable names today. Have you cooked a lot with these ingredients or do you just know your stuff.

Mariam:  I have just been cooking for that long, so I quiet like Asian food. So I was in food heaven today.

Shannon: So you’re making a soup! 

Siphwe: Yea a seafood soup.

Khanya: So he told me this morning, “we gonna mix shit up. We gonna go Asian and African today”. 

Mariam: It’s Afrasian soup today 

Siphwe: I am always fusing different food together. The one time I made a black pea burger, bought masonja chopped them up and made a patty and deep fried that shit.

Khanya: Was it dope?

Siphwe:  So amazing, yoh it was amazing. I really want to make the burger again; and give it to everyone that doesn’t like masonja -laughs!