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The mystic African kitchen hut

11 Sep 2020 at 17:07hrs | Views
If it's not a grass thatched brick and mortar hut, it's not the traditional African kitchen. The African woman is incomplete without a round kitchen hut.

Times gone, the floors would have a cow-dung finish but with mordenity creeping in, rural kitchens now have cement floors and even tiles.

A round fire place at the centre and a hand crafted Patriarchal wooden stool by the fire place, a preserve for the husband. Not even a child or respected village nobleman would dare sit on father's wooden stool.

An earthen bench carefully moulded alongside the inside against the wall so visitors and family members can rest with the leisure to lean against the wall for that utter comfort.

The semi-circular bench gave everyone a ringside view of what's cooking and the chance to sample the food aroma. Even the scrutiny of fair distribution of chicken parts come supper time on a good 'chicken day'.
At the far end opposite the doorway, a desk high brick platform is erected also against the wall (chikuva/huva). This is a very important structure for both decoration and ritualistic functionality.

Priceless clay pots of various sizes are kept on this platform with some women placing flower pots and chinaware on same.

A few crafty and love struck women are rumoured to keep love portions in the seldom used pots. Traditional story time folklore hinted on some witches storing their biltong and trade perephenalia in the mystic pots.

Of late, the clay containers are only onarmental and not sinister any more. In fact most kitchens no more have them since molding skills are now 'extinct'. During the October hot weather, family members sit in the kitchen where it's much cooler.

In the event of death in the family, the rural kitchen is the place for the funeral wake and night vigil.

A rural homestead with no kitchen hut is considered incomplete and disconnected from the village, tradition and customs no matter how modern. A few die hard Africans have built kitchen huts in towns, may be taking things too far.

Wired lighting takes away the African flavour, a smokey kerosene lamp does the trick.

Home sweet home.

Thomas Tondo Murisa. Chinehasha.

Source - Thomas Tondo Murisa
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