Food

Traditional Turkish food takes stage in South Africa with festival

JOHANNESBURG (AA): It was a special day for South Africans as hundreds attended the Turkish Day and food festival held in Johannesburg over the weekend, bringing traditional Turkish cuisine along with history and culture under the spotlight for South Africa.

Abdülaziz Yiğit, director of the Yunus Emre Institute, said the event was organized by the institute under the auspices of the Turkish Embassy in Pretoria.

“During the event, Turkish cuisine, desserts, Turkish tea and coffee, Turkish courses, Turkish handicrafts and archery were introduced, which attracted great interest,’’ Yiğit told Anadolu Agency (AA).

The event was attended by Turkish ambassador Ayşegül Kandaş, representatives of the embassies of Azerbaijan and Iraq and the Kazakh ambassador as well as their families.

During the colorful event attended by hundreds of guests, Zainab Moolla, a Turkish language student at the Yunus Emre Institute, read 13th-century Turkish poet Yunus Emre’s poem “Ben Yürürüm Yana Yana” (I walk burning up with divine love) both in Turkish and English.

Another Turkish language student, Danae Issel, sang the song “Sen Çal Kapımı” (Knock on my door).

Members of the Yunus Emre Institute prepare traditional Turkish food, in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 16, 2022. (AA Photo)
Members of the Yunus Emre Institute prepare traditional Turkish food, in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 16, 2022. (AA Photo)

Meanwhile, a South African choir, the Sweet Voices Chorale choir group, sang Yunus Emre’s poem ”Bana Seni Gerek Seni” (You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave) and a famous song “Üsküdar’a gider iken” (On the way to Üsküdar).

South African Turkish language students of the Yunus Emre Institute wore costumes of Yunus Emre, 13th-century Seljuk satirist Nasreddin Hodja, and the lead characters of the traditional Ottoman shadow play Karagöz and Hacivat, while introducing these important personalities to the South African audience.

The organizers also held a photo exhibition showcasing “Turkey’s charms” whose South Africa segment began on May 26, 2022 in the capital Pretoria.

The photo exhibition has been displayed in Turkey for a while, including at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, and abroad under the auspices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

“The photography exhibition will continue at the Yunus Emre Institute in Johannesburg throughout June,’” Yiğit said.

Several Turkish companies and organizations participated, including Defy and International Maarif Schools – South Africa.

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