The remains of last season’s mielies stand tattered between rampant blackjacks and pumpkins, wood smoke drifts across the ordered disorder of plastic bowls and pots that guard the fire between corn store and hut, an old woman endlessly shells roasted peanuts.
Time steadies to a slow beat as the women chatter, stirring, picking, plucking, peeling the feast that awaits. Dogs scratch and stretch, slinking underfoot, chickens disperse in clucking scuffles, pecking around the cooking pots. The men lean into conversation.
The procession of food is carried in, delivered on bent knee, respectful hands clasped to one side and deferential heads bowed to the men. Silken pap, pumpkin mash, blackjack spinach fried chicken, Tilapia fish, Mopane worm stew – the food is organic, foraged or cultivated in a permaculture style of farming, unprocessed and fresh to the table. We eat with our hands, sensing feeling respecting the food as it coats our fingers.