Tuleka Prah tells us why the representation of African food needs a makeover, and how she plans on doing it.
Although born in England, Prah had ample opportunity to taste many different variations of African food growing up having lived in Botswana, South Sudan, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia & South Africa.
Currently a filmmaker and PhD student living in Berlin, she started My African Food Map, an online collection of the most popular recipes from around the continent, which keeps her in touch with her gastronomic roots.
On how food can be a window on culture: “I was looking for a recipe and was disappointed by what I found so I decided to do something about it,” Prah says about what prompted her to start the project.
”My African Food Map collects recipes just as they are made, by people who love to eat them and who prepare them every day”.
Her expertise as a filmmaker plays a role in how she showcases the chosen recipes. She says ”I don’t try to over-do any of the production because the food is quite rich itself. I make sure that I take away as much distraction from what is being prepared as possible because really, I believe the food speaks for itself. If it is one of the most popular dishes, I just focus on doing the dish justice, by highlighting the “flavoursomeness” of it. It’s popular for a reason!
Also, when it’s just about the food, it allows anyone watching it to identify with what they’re seeing in any way that they want, without the interference of an overly-chatty chef or instructions”.
Article by Kim Seeliger, courtesy Design Africa, and photo My African Food Map