Pleasing Prospective Mothers-in-law

Sadza is the key to knowing whether your son is marrying the right woman.How she makes the staple food, served in different guises for breakfast, lunch and dinner, makes or breaks her. So "girls in ZImbabwe are born making sadza", explains Dorcas Shumba to the crowd watching her prepare it on Saturday in the Migrating Kitchen Exhibition in Palmerston North. Sadza is a mealie meal pounded, ground from maize and then cooked with the special wooden sadza spoon - an extra long thick handle for the all important stirring.

The growing crowd watching had to 'sing' for their food - learning that before you eat you say 'Pamusoroi' to the cook and to guests - and to wash their hands in the traditional way. No forks present, a few teaspoons for those who found manipulating the cooked sadza into balls before dipping into the meat relish too hard. Finishing a meal, the correct way was to thank the chef - with the formal "mazvita" plus the chef's totem (President Mugabe's is a crocodile) or the informal "tatenda". 

Zimbabwean cooking yesterday - Check out more photos on Facebook


Food was not the only item on the afternoon's menu - talk of languages, tribal affiliations, changes in politics, the role of women in traditional society, how to give the 'ulele' call and even a spontaneous lively African dance from the 3 women chefs. The audience showed their appreciation by coming back for several 'seconds' of food sauces, some even scraping remains from the cooking pots long after it was cold. As in most of the Saturday community events, the chefs shared their poignant stories of leaving home and coming to live in New Zealand, prompting many audience members to chat long after the formal part of the afternoon programme ended. 

The ZImbabwean focus continues this week with music, talks and a film screening. Dorcas, Tracy and Joan will also be in the exhibitions from time to time to answer any questions or just talk of home to anyone who wants to listen. 


Saturday 7th April

2.00pm – 3.30pm Cooking Demonstration: Zimbabwe’s staple foods.

Presentations on Totems. Greetings demonstration. Sampling Zimbabwean dishes.

Sunday 8th April

3.30pm – 4.30pm Basic Shona Lessons.

Festival of Zimbabwe’s Finest Music (including artists such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Chiwoniso Maraire, Stella Chiweshe).

Monday 9th April

3.30pm – 4.30pm Basic Shona Lessons.

Festival of Zimbabwe’s Finest Music (including artists such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Chiwoniso Maraire, Stella Chiweshe).

Tuesday 10th April

3.30pm – 4.30pm Learn about Zimbabwe’s Tourist Attractions.

Today: Victoria Falls, Zambesi River, Lake Kariba, Matopo Hills, Khami Ruins Hwange National Park, Chinhoyi Caves.

Wednesday 11th April

3.30pm – 4.30pm Learn about Zimbabwe’s Tourist Attractions.

Today: Great Zimbabwe, Lake Mutirikwi, Gonarezhou National Park, Chimanimani Mountains, Bridal Veils Falls, Mount Inyangani, Ziwa Ruins, Mutarazi, Pungwe and Nyangombe Falls.

Thursday 12th April

3.30pm – 4.30pm Showing a Zimbabwe based video by New Zealand filmmaker Jennifer Bush-Daumec ‘Land of Our Fathers’ (Length 69 mins).

Friday 13th April

3.30pm – 4.30pm Question and answer session about Zimbabwe.

Dorcas Shumba holding her mother's favourite recipe (Dorcas rang her mother in Zimbabwe to check she remembered it correctly!)

Seen at the Zimbabwean kitchen: from Te Manawa - Joanna, senior curator and Brent from the Exhibitions team; from Migrating Kitchen Trust - Christine, the Palmerston North facilitator

Dorcas and Joan, the Zimbabwean community with flag and Christine Coles, Palmerston North facilitator

Zimbabwe collection

Do not miss out on the Zimbabwean Week. There is so much to EXPLORE! 

A sneak peek into some of Zimbabwe’s finest

The Mighty Victoria Falls also known as the Mosi oa Tunya – The smoke that thunders (one of the world’s seven natural wonders)

The Zambezi River Junction (where the river meets 4 countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia)

Mutarazi Falls (Africa’s second highest waterfall after Tugela in South Africa. Mutarazi Is number 6 in the whole world standing at 2,499 ft)

Mount Inyanga- Zimbabwe’s Highest Mountain

Lake Kariba (the world’s largest artificial lake and reservoir by volume)* The Zambezi River legend of Nyaminyami  (the Zambezi River God and his wife residing in the Kariba Gorge)

The Gonarezhou National Park (part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which includes South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park and Mozambique’s Gaza)

Matopo Hills (where Cecil John Rhodes’s grave lies)

Great Zimbabwe ruins (sub-Saharan Africa largest stone ruins)

Mana Pools (small seasonal pools dispersed over two thousand square kilometers)


Chinhoyi Caves (with a pool of cobalt blue water, they are Zimbabwe’s most extensive cave system)

Exhibition Location: Te Manawa Gallery  326 Main Street, Palmerston North

Exhibition coordinator: Christine Coles - Email: christinecoles@migratingkitchen.org