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Carla Hall’s culinary journey to Zimbabwe – Chronicle

Leonard Ncube ,[email protected]

SHARING a meal has always been a time-honoured tradition among humans throughout history. It’s an act that transcends borders and languages, building and cementing relationships, whether between individuals or families. From the simplest home-cooked dishes to extravagant dinners at fancy eateries, the power of food to warm hearts and forge connections is undeniable.

In courtship, food becomes a language of love. A man knows that a dinner date at an elegant restaurant can melt a woman’s heart, just as a woman understands that the way to a man’s heart is often through his stomach, with a carefully prepared and sumptuous meal.

Childhood memories are often filled with stories of sneaking out to a neighbour’s house where the promise of delicious food awaited. Some carry this habit into adulthood, seeking comfort and connection through shared meals.

Carla Hall shares a traditional meal with some locals in Victoria Falls

After a long and tiring day, a meal becomes more than nourishment; it becomes a source of solace for both body and soul. The experience is heightened when shared with others, turning a simple act into a bonding ritual.

Some social gatherings, like weddings, parties and funerals become opportunities not just for celebration or mourning, but also for indulging in culinary delights. People may attend these events primarily for the food, sometimes not even knowing the hosts or the occasion itself.

Yet, for someone to travel great distances solely to savour a meal, there must be something truly exceptional about the food. This is precisely what drew the renowned United States celebrity, chef, television personality, and author Carla Hall to Zimbabwe.

Carla Hall embarked on a journey to “live” the Zimbabwean life and immerse herself in the country’s rich culinary traditions. To her, traditional African food is not just a cuisine; it’s a reflection of one’s identity.

Carla Hall tastes some local dishes

Her introduction to Zimbabwean cuisine came courtesy of Hollywood-based Zimbabwean make-up artist and entrepreneur, Jacque Mgido, who extended the invitation and brought her to Harare and Victoria Falls. Here, she discovered the heart and soul of Zimbabwean food.

In Harare, Carla Hall, fondly known as “Tafara” by the locals, embraced the authentic African lifestyle. She stayed at Amanzi Lodge and experienced breakfast in Mbare, sitting on the floor on a reed mat. This intimate encounter with local life left an indelible mark.

In Victoria Falls, she was hosted by Dr Mati Martha Nyazema, the founder of Mbano Manor Hotel. Here, she indulged in a traditional luncheon, sharing the experience with tourism executives and local residents alike. They affectionately dubbed her “Zanele Ndlovu.”

Chef Carla’s journey began in early 2022 when she first connected with Dr Nyazema. She was captivated by a video showcasing the Zimbabwean hotel entrepreneur’s remarkable journey and the challenges she faced in establishing the first black female-owned five-star hotel in Victoria Falls.

In Victoria Falls, Carla Hall fell in love with the vibrant flavours of Zimbabwean cuisine. Dishes like “Gango,” “amacimbi” (mopane worms), “umfushwa” (dried vegetables), peanut butter-infused greens and the exotic baobab fruit were all too good for her.

“Food has so much to do with culture and if you don’t know the culture you don’t know the food. Coming here was all about cultural culinary experience and we had to actually work with the chefs to cook the food.

“That helps me understand the culture and I am hoping to inspire the chefs here not to leave those dishes in the bush or villages but bring them out and showcase them. I have travelled to different countries and some foods are spicy but here in Zimbabwe that’s not the case, yes you may have chilly on the side but I love the food,” said Hall as she tried to pronounce names of some foods she tasted.
Hall believes with proper packaging, Zimbabwean foods can be a tourism attraction. She said she and her husband now enjoy Zimbabwean meals at their home in Los Angeles.

“I have had greens mixed with peanut butter once because it was made by a Zimbabwean. The first time I had sadza was in Los Angeles and I love the greens and vegetables. It was prepared by Jackie who I think is an official ambassador to Zimbabwe and she made this huge feast. My husband loves peanut butter rice and I love the greens and sweet potatoes with tea.

“So I had to fly down here to share with fantastic people. The traditional food was amazing, beautifully presented and it’s unique to this place and that makes me want to come back,” said Hall.
She has been to Ghana, Sierra Leone, Egypt and Mozambique before and had to fly to Zimbabwe to taste the traditional meals. Hall writes culinary books and said she will translate names of some foods to local Zimbabwean languages.

Dr Nyazema said through food, Victoria Falls can appeal to the tourism world. She named the luncheon ‘Mabiko nanaTete – Meal with the Sisters.

Hall first won over audiences when she competed on America’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All Stars”. She has combined her love of food, people and culture to write several cookbooks.

Her latest cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, is a celebration of the rich culture and history of soul food. She has two previous cookbooks – Carla’s Comfort Food: Favourite Dishes from Around the World and Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You.

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Hadebe scores in MLS defeat – The Herald

Hadebe scores in MLS defeat

Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE international defender, Teenage Hadebe scored his first goal of the 2023 Major League Soccer season, the consolation for Houston Dynamo, in a 1-2 defeat at Sporting Kansas City yesterday.

It was his second appearance inside a week on his return from injury, which kept him on the sidelines since April 22. While he played the whole match in the 4-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps, Hadebe lasted just the first half yesterday.

Hadebe scored nine minutes into added time of the first half, reducing the deficit after Sporting Kansas City had scored.  He was taken off at the start of the second half, the first time he was substituted this season in his 10 appearances.

Sporting Kansas City played 51 minutes with 10 men after a 39th minute red card to their goalscorer, Russell who found the target from the spot after seven minutes.

Houston’s final opportunity of the game came off the right foot of Corey Baird in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time. Bartlow’s pass found the forward in space, but his effort was saved by the Kansas City goalkeeper.

Hadebe and the Dynamo next travel to South Florida to take on Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday.

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SA’s Dirco deputy minister defends Ramaphosa’s presence at … – New

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By Victoria O’Regan | Daily Maverick

SOUTH African International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Candith Mashego-Dlamini has defended President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presence at Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration ceremony this month, telling MPs his attendance was “procedural.”

Mashego-Dlamini was responding on Wednesday to questions from MPs after the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) had briefed the parliamentary international relations committee on its assessment of the outcome of the August elections in Zimbabwe, and South Africa’s role as part of the Southern African Development Community’s Electoral Observation Mission.

“Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and, therefore, if the election commission of Zimbabwe announced the winner of the election, as South Africa and as government, we had to congratulate, because that is their system, that is the system of Zimbabwe.

“So they’ve announced, the President has congratulated the winning president and also attended the inauguration, because it was procedural,” Mashego-Dlamini replied to DA international relations spokesperson Emma Powell.

Powell had questioned Ramaphosa’s “rush to congratulate” Mnangagwa, following the observer mission’s sharply critical assessment of the elections.

Mnangagwa was sworn in on 4 September for a second term, following the disputed elections held on 23 August, and amid a low turnout of invited African leaders.

Of the 16 presidents of the SADC, only three – Ramaphosa, Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Félix Tshisekedi – bothered to show up at his inauguration ceremony. From the 51 remaining African countries, not one head of state was in attendance, but were represented instead by a retinue of ambassadors and junior ministers.

The low turnout at Mnangagwa’s subdued inauguration suggested that his administration could be headed for further isolation – not only by many Western countries but also by fellow African leaders, Daily Maverick reported.

The SADC’s election observer mission, headed by former Zambian vice-president Nevers Mumba, concluded that the presidential, legislative and local government elections fell short of the requirements of the constitution of Zimbabwe, the country’s Electoral Act and the SADC’s Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

The interim report’s findings included that Zimbabwean authorities had restricted opposition access to the voters’ roll, that the country’s Patriot Act had restricted freedom of expression, and that state media had favoured Zanu-PF in their election coverage.

The findings were collected by 50 observers from nine SADC countries – Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Eswatini and South Africa.

Other election observer missions from the European Union (EU), the Commonwealth, the US’ Carter Centre and the African Union were also critical of the elections. However, the sharp condemnation from Mumba and the normally reticent SADC, of which Zimbabwe is a member, was significant.

South Africa’s Presidency said in a statement that South Africa congratulated the government and people of Zimbabwe on the holding of the elections. Ramaphosa took note of the preliminary election reports by the SADC, the African Union and others, and called on all the Zimbabwean parties to work in unison to sustain peace.

Despite ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula’s remarks about the extreme unlikeliness of fresh polls being held in Zimbabwe and a series of tweets in which he appears to praise Mnangagwa and his party, the ANC has remained silent about its official position on the elections.

On Wednesday, Mashego-Dlamini said South Africa had been honoured to be part of the SADC observer mission to Zimbabwe:

“We have been honoured as South Africa to be part of the collective through participating in the leadership or as observers in the SADC electoral observer mission deployed by the SADC to assist member states to, amongst others, conduct peaceful, free, fair and credible elections. I am pleased that South Africa has also been part of the collective that observed the just-concluded, peaceful harmonised elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe,” she said.

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Candith Mashego-Dlamini

“We were observing and we have learned there are issues that, when there’s an election in South Africa we can contribute and also correct some of the things that we’ve observed in Zimbabwe. So it’s a lesson; observing the election of any other country is not really to demise the legislation and the constitution of that country, but is to learn and do better in your own country,” she added.

In response to questions about how the SADC’s observer mission report will be processed, ambassador Tebogo Seokolo, who took the committee through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s presentation on the elections, said: “The Chair of the observer mission will present the final report to the Chair of the Organ, who will submit the report to the government of Zimbabwe as well and to other stakeholders. Thereafter, the SADC advisory council will engage with the member state regarding the implementations of the recommendations.”

Sanctions against Zimbabwe

Responding to questions from MPs, Mashego-Dlamini blamed sanctions imposed by Western governments for creating Zimbabwe’s economic ills.

“The crisis in Zimbabwe is not really created by the election, it is created by the sanctions against Zimbabwe which have been passed by the EU, the United States and the UK. We can’t really – when we discuss [the] election – say this election has caused the crisis in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is already in crisis in terms of the economy, the job creation and the rest of the issues, just because of the sanctions that they have,” said the deputy minister.

Mashego-Dlamini’s statements come on the back of Ramaphosa’s call to lift the sanctions against Zimbabwe, made at the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

“The sanctions that are also being applied against South Africa’s neighbour, Zimbabwe, should also be lifted as they are imposing untold suffering on ordinary Zimbabweans, but also have a collateral negative impact on neighbouring countries as well, such as my own country, South Africa,” he said.

In 2002, the EU imposed targeted financial and travel sanctions on then Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, some of his cronies and Zanu-PF-linked companies, citing human rights violations. Brussels also imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe.

But the sanctions have steadily diminished since then, and now only comprise the arms embargo and individual sanctions against the state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries, which makes ammunition.

From 2001, the US introduced sanctions targeted at key officials of the Zanu-PF party, which also oblige US administrations to veto any financial support to Zimbabwe from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, among others.

The UK has also maintained limited sanctions against key Zanu-PF individuals.

Powell accused the deputy minister of drawing a “pointed, sharp sword” at some of South Africa’s largest trading partners, and asked her to clarify her statements that the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is not as a result of its political situation but a direct result of sanctions.

“Honourable Powell should not really be making herself a legal person here against the sanctions of Zimbabwe. We are aware that Zimbabwe has got sanctions and that’s it – it’s period. It’s something that is not a secret,” she replied.

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World View: Life elsewhere: Findings promising – The Zimbabwe … – NewsDay

A “Super Earth” … K2-18, a planet far larger than Earth where life could theoretically flourish, has been discovered.

Last week’s real news was the discovery of life on another planet. As Cambridge University’s Nikku Madhusudhan said in the first sentence of his report: “The search for habitable environments and biomarkers in exoplanetary atmospheres is the holy grail of exoplanet science.” And he has probably found the Holy Grail.

The planet orbits a star imaginatively named K2-18, about 120 light years from here. It is in the star’s “Goldilocks Zone”, where life could theoretically flourish because the temperature will allow water to remain liquid. (It will neither freeze nor boil off.)

Planet K2-18B is far larger than Earth (8,6 times bigger), but it has an atmosphere containing carbon dioxide and methane, both commonly emitted by living things — and also dimethyl sulphide, a trace gas that is definitely a strong “biomarker” for life. On Earth, it is exclusively produced by life, mostly by plankton living in bodies of water.

K2-18B belongs to a newly named “Hycean” category of big ocean-covered planets with hydrogen-rich atmospheres that circle dim dwarf stars (so they are easier to see). It’s sort of like the drunk looking for the dropped car keys under the street light (“because the light’s better there”), but it’s letting astronomers spot lots of potential candidates for life.

Dr Madhusudhan is understandably excited (“It’s mind-boggling”), and at the same time professionally cautious. It will take more observations by the James Webb telescope to confirm the “tentative” finding of dimethyl sulphide, but he was feeling confident enough to say this:

“The atmospheric composition tells us that … there is an ocean underneath. It is very hard to get that composition otherwise. Planet-wide oceans and hydrogen atmosphere are just the right conditions to be able to host life similar to the conditions of what we see on Earth.”

It’s a triumph (“We found life!”) and at the same time no surprise at all (“What did you expect to find?”).

If only one-in-a-million planets was a host to life, there would still be around half a million life-bearing planets in this galaxy alone. There are over 30 galaxies in our local group, and up to two trillion altogether.

Indeed, we have managed to see only 5 000 planets so far, and Nasa says that 200 of them are potentially habitable. So there are probably lots of places with bacteria and maybe even algae and jellyfish. But what if only one in a million habitable planets has a civilisation on it at any given time?

That’s about the right ratio for Earth: our civilisation is around 4 500 years old; the planet is about 4,5 billion years old.

If civilisations are really that scarce, then we might be the only one in this galaxy at the moment and there would be no more than two trillion civilisations in all of the universe right now. Makes you feel special, doesn’t it?

But let’s get back to the neighbourhood. Unless there is some way around the cosmic speed limit (the speed of light), human beings will never travel much farther than the nearest stars and even those that are probably too far. However, there is a project under development to investigate the nearest star close up.

The star is a red dwarf called Proxima Centauri, it’s 4,2 light years away, and one of its planets, Proxima B, is in the star’s habitable zone and about the same size as Earth. We don’t even know if it has an atmosphere, but it would be nice to know a bit more about it — and Breakthrough Starshot is working on sending a probe there.

Breakthrough Starshot is a privately funded proposal to send a thousand-strong fleet of tiny sensor “chips” on a one-way trip to Proxima Centauri to get more information about that planet and its sun. (The high numbers are to allow for a good deal of attrition en route.)

The initial impulse would come from a gigawatt-range array of ground-based lasers pushing against the light-sails that carry the chips. That would get the chips up to 20% of light speed and the rest of the trip would be on cruise.

Launch is projected “within the next generation”, and arrival for 20 years later (plus four more years to send the data back to Earth). And, of course, if you can do it for Proxima Centauri B, you can do it for any other celestial object of interest: no extra fuel is required.

The technology to do this does not now exist, but the next or second-next generations of existing technologies would probably suffice. No conceptual leaps are required. Patience and persistence are essential — but if this bird doesn’t fly, another one will.

Nothing can stop the process now except nuclear war or climate collapse. So it’s a definite maybe.

Dyer is a London-based independent journalist. His new book is titled The Shortest History of War.


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