In 1945, South Africa had two momentous occurrences – the arrival of Anna Ndala into the world and the introduction of the delicious taste of Laager Rooibos to the market. And this year, Lebo and Tebo Ndala (@withlovefromthetwins) have the double joy of celebrating their love of Laager Rooibos tea alongside the 75th birthday of their beloved gogo, Anna Ndala, affectionately known as ‘Koko’.
The Pretoria-born twins, renowned South African chefs and Laager Rooibos ambassadors, said the infusion of traditional tastes and Rooibos flavours in their food could be connected to Koko, who was instrumental in their cooking education growing up.
“Connections and traditions keep us grounded, they remind us of who we really are and we can carry these traditions to our future families one day,” explained Tebo. “Food and family recipes are important – there is really no better way to connect! They bring such a sense of nostalgia. To this day, we still have our ‘Seven-colour Sunday’ brunch every week with food in a rainbow of colours; and we still eat ‘ting’ (a traditional Sotho porridge) at every special occasion. These traditions that we carry today are the traditions that have passed through each generation of our family.”
Koko, who hails from Mamelodi in Gauteng, celebrated her 75th birthday on 30 April in lockdown with her family. The twins prepared a delicious lunch and lemon cake which was enjoyed with her favourite beverage – a cup of Laager Rooibos.
“She loves her Laager Rooibos tea,” said Tebo. “She’s been drinking it since way before we were born. It’s the drink of choice every time we have a visitor at home!”
Commenting on Koko’s influence growing up, Lebo said: “She’s very strict and has shaped the way we are today. She has instilled strong morals and values in both of us. She likes order, she’s a hard worker and expects us to work hard as well. She has taught us how to make traditional South African dishes and helped us stay rooted to our culture, no matter where we are.”
As a way to honour Koko’s cultural heritage on her 75th birthday, the Ndala family will be sharing a special recipe infused with the unmatched flavour and healthy benefits of Laager Rooibos.
“’Dombolo’ (steamed bread) is our grandma’s favourite dish!” said Lebo. “She used to make it for us all the time. We even have a special ‘dombolo’ pot at home that has probably been there since before we were even born. This specific dish definitely reminds us of her.”
Commenting on her 75th birthday, Koko said: “I feel blessed to be 75 years old and enjoying my bonus years – anything past 70 years is lucky! My advice to the young people is that it’s important to work hard, to never expect handouts and to always build their own legacies.”
Laager Rooibos Marketing Manager, Candice Sessions, extended birthday wishes to Mrs Ndala, saying the twins were an exemplary reflection of her values today: “The wonderful work done by Lebo and Tebo Ndala and contribution to the culinary world is a real testament to the lessons instilled by their gogo. It’s these morals and traditional connection that make the twins such wonderful representatives of the Laager Rooibos brand.”
Laager Rooibos Steamed Bread
720g cake flour
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
10g dry instant yeast
375ml lukewarm water
2 Laager Rooibos teabags boiled in water and brewed for 5-10mins
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and oil. Add enough to make a soft (but not sticky) dough.
Mix and knead for 10 minutes. Leave to rise until double its size (for 1 hour).
Knock down, transfer to a greased bowl.
Put the bowl with dough inside a large pot. Add Laager Rooibos tea to the pot, to cover about a 1/3 of the bowl. (No tea/water must get into the actual bowl with the dough).
Cover tightly with lid and steam on the stove at medium heat for an hour.
Add more tea to the pot if needed.
You’ll know it’s done when it gives a hollow sound when tested.
For more exciting recipe ideas, follow @withlovefromthetwins and @LaagerRooibos on Facebook.