South African Kwanzaa Foods

The celebration of Kwanzaa is celebrated by African-Americans and all over the world around the same time Christians celebrate Christmas and Jews celebrate Hanukkah. As in other religions, there are traditional foods that are served on this holiday, in South Africa and in other countries where Kwanzaa is celebrated every year. Many of these foods are popular dishes in mainstream American cuisine as well.

Gumbo Ya Ya

Gumbo is one of the most popular dishes that come from the traditional Kwanzaa meal, as it has become a staple of Cajun culture and the cuisine of states like Louisiana. Somewhere between a soup and stew, gumbo has meat, fresh seafood ranging from shrimp to scallops, and a variety of fresh vegetables all cooked down for hours in a thick, delicious plasma of spices, flour and butter known as a roux. This dish is often served at the beginning of the Kwanzaa meal in South Africa, but it is not uncommon for people to only eat gumbo for the entire meal.


Croquettes are a popular dish in South Africa during Kwanzaa and are often served as the main meat course of the traditional holiday meal, among other options. These croquettes can be made from a variety of meats, ranging from beef to turkey, and consist of rolling balls of meat through spices and bread crumbs, allowing the spice to marinate in the meat so that it becomes incredibly flavorful. They should also be dipped in a spiced egg and water mixture so that the bread crumbs stick to them. These balls of meat are then fried in oil for about three to five minutes and then served, often with gravy.

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a traditional side dish served in South Africa during the traditional Kwanzaa meal and are a popular dish worldwide. The small leafed green plants are boiled with other vegetables and then transferred to a pot with other liquids and spices, such as chillies, brown sugar and vinegar. Other ingredients can be added, such as bacon, which will give these greens a deeper, more complex flavor. Many people eat collard greens by adding a bit more vinegar and hot sauce to each of their servings, giving them a spicy and refreshing flavor, complementing the other traditional foods.

Keywords: traditional South Africa, traditional Kwanzaa foods, South African Kwanzaa

About this Author

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Daniel Westlake has written under pen names for a myriad of publications all over the nation, ranging from national magazines to local papers. He now lives in Los Angeles, Calif. but regularly travels around the country and abroad, exploring and experiencing everything he can.

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