Sydow cookbook a celebration of culture

Shamiel Taylor, from Strand, Sulaiman Abrahams, from Belhar, Byron Davids, from Northpine, Tauriq Sydow, from Westridge, Ameer Noordien, from Rocklands, Jodian Challis, from Rocklands and Laeeqah Ferris, from Portland. In front are Cape, Curry and Koesisters cookbook authors Fatima Sydow, from Lansdowne, and her twin sister Gadija Sydow Noordien, from Rocklands.

Twin sisters Fatima Sydow and Gadija Sydow Noordien have become familiar names in most households with the advent of social media, their recent television series Kaap, Kerrie en Koesisters and now their cookbook.

They launched their book Kaap, Kerrie en Koesisters or Cape, Curry and Koesisters at Centre of the Book, in Cape Town, on Monday April 15.

Gadija, from Rocklands, the youngest twin, thanked “each and everyone” for attending the launch, as each guest was there because they had touched the sisters’ lives.

“If I look at your faces, each one of you said something that inspired us, motivated us or did something to help us on this journey,” she said.

“I am so grateful to be standing here today with my twinny.

“Die was nie maklik nie, a lot of work, hardships, challenges but with the help of all of you, we are standing here today. I just want to say shukran and thank you. Roger and out,” she said.

In her impromptu speech Fatima related how their day started, with a video phone call to each other, during which Gadija confuses Billions actor John Malkovich, with the former president of Russia Mikhail Gorbachev.

She said they are blessed to have been able to complete this cookbook together with these daily rituals.

“Every day can be sombre, challenging, difficult but somehow we found a way to laugh or smile and of course always time to make another person laugh or smile as well,” she said.

Gadija said during the recording of season three of the television series last year Fatima had a massive break-down, through which they filmed every day to complete the book and the season.

“You are a fighter and conqueror and I salute you,” she said to her sister.

Finance MEC Ivan Henry Meyer, formerly MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, acknowledged their father Abduragman Sydow, from Rocklands, and thanked him for having raised “ambassadors for the Western Cape and for South Africa”.

He congratulated them for the journey, in not only completing a cookbook but cooking with culture.

“When you eat you eat their food. You are not only tasting the food, you taste the local indigenous culture,” he said.

Mr Meyer said he was filled with the spirit to spread the word of their book launch.

He thanked the sisters for being ambassadors of cultural warmth.

“In the world in which we live now, there are idiosyncrasies, conflict (where) only my culture matters but what they bring to the table is ambassadors of cultural warmth,” he said.

“Through their food and cooking they touch people because they love people,” he said.

Mr Meyer said he had instructed the provincial library services to order the book and distribute it across the Western Cape.

Poet, philanthropist and author Athol Williams, from Westridge, dedicated his poem Let’s tell our stories to the sisters.

He said the cook book was not just about recipes, cooking and eating but the telling of South African stories.

“For too long have we been silent. For too long, our stories haven’t been heard,” he said.

“Others have been telling our stories for us and tonight
I celebrate Fatima and Gadija for not just telling their story, and their mother’s story, their father’s story, their family’s story but telling all of our stories,” he said.

Mr Williams said it was a celebration of culture and stories.