C. Louis Leipoldt and the role of the Cape Malay in South African cookery
The famous Afrikaans poet C. Louis Leipoldt (1880-1947) has long been misread as a nationalist writer. During the first half of the 20th century Leipoldt's poetry seemed to be in sympathy with Afrikaner nationalism, and since his death he has mostly been remembered for this element of his work. Recent scholarship reveals a different Leipoldt, one fiercely anti-nationalist in his unpublished English fiction and more openly aggressive in his non-fiction prose. Leipoldt regularly wrote about food and culinary traditions in South Africa and used his knowledge of local cuisine to argue against notions of "authentic Afrikaner dishes", instead insisting that the earliest authorities behind original South African dishes camefrom the "Cape Malay" population of theWestern Cape. This article aims to explore Leipoldt's cosmopolitan argument against political, sectional possessiveness in the cultural development of South Africa between the mid-19th and early-20th centuries, with a sustained focus on the importance of food as a cultural marker. © 2012 Copyright JLS/TLW.