Nelson Mandela cookbook launched in South Africa

Xoliswa Ndoyiya Xoliswa Ndoyiya started cooking for Nelson Mandela two years before he became president

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Nelson Mandela's personal chef has launched a cookbook featuring some of the statesman's favourite meals.

Xoliswa Ndoyiya's book includes more than 62 recipes for the simple traditional dishes that Mr Mandela most enjoys.

She has cooked for the Mandela family for more than 20 years.

The book, one of the few South African cookbooks to include traditional African recipes, will be available in the UK in the coming months.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Mandela's great-grandson Luvuyo Mandela described Ms Ndoyiya, known as "Xoli", as the family's best kept secret.

"UMam'Xoli was more than someone who prepared meals... she was a parent," he said.

Ukutya Kwasekhaya [home cooking] - Tastes from Nelson Mandela's Kitchen, includes recipes for chicken soup, umqusho (maize and beans) and umsila wenkomo (oxtail stew).

Nelson Mandela's favourite food

Nelson Mandela
  • Tripe
  • Maize and beans
  • Sourmilk: Crumbed maize meal with sour milk
  • Sugar bean soup: Sugar bean and white maize soup
  • Oxtail stew with vegetables

Ms Ndoyiya, 49, sees food as a way of strengthening bonds between families and also preserving special memories.

"Tata [Nelson] Mandela has told me that every time I make umphokoqo [sour milk] for him, he remembers his mother cooking this dish for him with love," she writes in her book.

Her husband was killed in the clashes between Mr Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in the early 1990s.

Shortly after that, she was introduced to Mr Mandela who was looking for a chef at the time.

She began working for him in 1992, two years before he became South Africa's first democratically elected president.

The 93-year-old retired from public life in 2004.

Today, he spends most of his time with his family in his home village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape and Johannesburg.

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