One of the fun aspects of daily life at Angama Mara is meeting people from all over the world – of course, we’re talking about our guests, but this applies within the Angama family, too, with a diversity of cultures across the 150-strong team.
In recognition of this, we started a tradition of celebratory cultural evenings, showcasing food, dress, music, and information and so much more from the different traditions and heritage of the Angama family.
Having grown up as a ‘born-free’ South African (born post-democracy in 1994), I have been brought up with a strong sense of the importance of celebrating other people’s cultures. It is only through understanding that we grow in acceptance of others. I’ll quote Desmond Tutu until I’m blue in the face and here is one of my most loved quotes:
“We are different so that we can know our need for one another.”
There are 45 officially recognised tribes in Kenya, each with different languages, histories and cultures, and our team embodies this incredible diversity. We divided Kenya into four groups (Coast, Western, Rift Valley and Central) with each being allocated a night to introduce the rest of the team to their heritage. All were a cracking success and here Azei writes about Angama By The Sea, as well as the night we celebrated our brothers and sisters from the Rift Valley.
Which left just one ‘Angama tribe’ still to celebrate: the South Africans. There were quite a few of us ‘Saffas’ at the lodge at the same time – including myself, Nicky Fitzgerald, Adam Bannister, Diana Bannister and Amanda Collins, our chef trainer. And what fun we had sharing our country with our Angama family. Amanda prepared an amazing dinner overflowing with chakalaka, pap, boerie rolls, kota, shisa nyama, koeksisters, bunny chow, and so much more.
Nicky made sure to bring some mampoer (a potent South African moonshine – only 50% proof) from Jo’burg. She had to remove the barbed wire before smuggling it into her suitcase. She also had the foresight to bring some Mrs Balls fruit chutney, because what South African meal is complete without Mrs Balls in attendance? As we say in SA, everything was in place for a proper skop.
Adam was the DJ and the all-South African soundtrack created a lively atmosphere throughout the evening, with music ranging from Die Antwoord to Johnny Clegg and everything in-between, including, of course, Jerusalema. I was in charge of the presentation which gave a summary of South Africa’s turbulent history. It started off with this video, which I hoped would give everyone the feel for South Africa.
Anybody would tell you that I’m exceptionally patriotic, but I wondered how interested the others would be in South Africa’s history? These qualms were quickly put to rest as Nicky brought up Bafana Bafana, South Africa’s national soccer team. It doesn’t take one long to realise that soccer is almost a religion in Kenya and that an easy way to win hearts over is to speak to them about the beautiful game.
With the presentation complete, Mrs Balls properly depleted, and possibly too much mampoer imbibed, we called it a night. I will happily admit that not even this evening could make me feel the slightest bit homesick; it would take a lot more than that to make anybody want to be anywhere other than Angama Mara. In closing, I’ll let Archbishop Tutu have the last word;
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
Filed under: Inside Angama
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