#MandelaDay: How to make Madiba's favourite food

Xoliswa Ndoyiya with Nelson Mandela.

Xoliswa Ndoyiya with Nelson Mandela.

Published Jul 18, 2019


It's Nelson Mandela's birthday and as decreed by the UN, also International Mandela Day.

The whole world is taking 67 minutes of their time to do a bit of good to their immediate community. 

What if that included cooking Madiba's favourite food? 

His personal chef, Xoliswa Ndoyiya, had been Madiba's cook since 1992. He was looking for someone who could prepare the kind of food he grew up with.

“My friend Gloria Nocando was working for him and she said she would introduce me. So I went and the first time I met him, wow, I was so happy, in such shock,” Ndoyiya said. “I had seen him on TV and heard him speaking, and now I was meeting him. It was a very nice day in my life. He asked me my name and my clan, and then said: ‘Do you think you can cook my home food?’ I said I could and I got the job, just like that.”

Last year, Madiba's favourite meal by Ndoyiya, umleqwa, which is boiled chicken, was featured in "The Great South African Cookbook". 

Here's how to make the easy recipe 



(Serves 4)


1½ kg chicken (farm is best but otherwise free range), cut into pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp flour

3 cups (750ml) chicken stock

chopped fresh parsley to serve


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. 

Boil the chicken in 1 cup water for 10 minutes with the lid off; the water will evaporate.

Allow the chicken to slightly fry in its own fat for a further 5 minutes.

Add the onion and the flour, and cook for another few minutes.

Stir in the stock, bring to the boil and cover.

Cover for 20-25 minutes until the chicken has cooked through

Scatter with parsley, and serve with the sauce on the side

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