In a move that’s expected to attract massive public support, the organisers of National Braai Day 2011 have announced that the theme for this year’s celebration will be ‘Street Braai’.
Every year on National Braai Day, millions of South Africans gather around fires to celebrate South Africa’s favourite pastime, the braai.
Braaing is a basic human right, and National Braai Day organisers are encouraging South Africans to take to the streets and exercise that right. Years ago, street braais were common occurrences but nowadays people usually braai in their backyards.
Jan Braai, the man behind National Braai Day, has these pointers, tips and advice for holding a Street Braai:
- Invite all your neighbours. This way you can get to know them, tasks can be divided, and it also means that they will not complain about the noise.
- If you don’t know your neighbours, print a flyer and put it underneath their door. If they have large dogs and an electric fence, use their postbox!
- ‘Potjiekos’ counts as braaing, so having a potjiekos is not only a uniquely South African way of celebrating National Braai Day, but also a great way to settle disputes between neighbours (or even start new ones) by having a pojtiekos competition.
- That house full of students who always make a noise and keep you up at night? Invite them to be in charge of music on the day.
- The old lady who recently lost her husband, and whose children have all emigrated? Invite her to bring the salad.
- Speak to your local traffic department and get a permit to close the road; if you live in a gated community, get the body corporate to take charge of road closures. In rural and relaxed towns, just invite the traffic cop to join the braai.
- Whether it’s in a public park, on a traffic circle, a pavement of a busy street or closed-down main road of your city, you’re in Street Braai territory.
- Cul-de-sacs and parking lots of apartment blocks are both Street Braai havens.
Ultimately, though, the Street Braai is about South Africans getting together in celebration of National Braai Day. So, whether you’re on the avenue outside your house, in a local park, or simply in your back garden, it’s still a Street Braai as long as you’re together round a fire with friends and family. Street Braai is a state of mind.
Jan Braai got the idea for this year’s Street Braai theme on the recent National Braai Day tour around South Africa (during which the kykNET TV series ‘Jan Braai vir Erfenis’ was recorded). He was invited to a few fantastic examples of how a street braai brings communities together.
The wood used for braaiing was collected locally (from alien vegetation) and contributed by those in that industry; local meat was brought to the braai by the local farmers or butchers; members of the community arrived with salads and desserts; roosterkoek was expertly baked over the coals by people from the area; local wine makers, beer breweries and pub owners contributed liquid refreshments and manned the bars; local artists and musicians arrived, shared the stage and their instruments and provided entertainment; and local story tellers and characters shared their experiences.
From coastal towns like Lamberts Bay and Port Nolloth, where fishermen would arrive with fresh fish, crayfish oysters and mussels, to the Bushveld and Karoo, where hunters would arrive with venison, the one constant was that braais were held all across the country, and in each case they brought people together.
The 24th September 2011 will see that vision take to the streets, as National Braai Day unites South Africans of all colours and cultures around a fire, celebrating our incredible country.
Up until National Braai Day and every day, we are giving away one whole lamb on the National Braai Day facebook page http://www.facebook.com/nationalbraaiday