The Fourways Farmers Market: Food Review

I love cooking. My most cherished memories are, when on public holidays or on cold winter Saturdays my mom would sit my sister and I down and teach us how to bake. My love for savory cooking started and I can’t believe this, when I mastered how to make stovetop popcorn at around age 9. I burnt it so many times, but I wouldn’t have the heart to throw it away so my sister, my childhood friend Ida and I would eat burnt popcorn. But you know what they say, the difference between the master and the student is that the master has failed more times than the student has even tried (Stephen McCrainie). Now at 24, I consider myself the Goddess of Popcorn. Anyone who knows me knows that I think it’s the actual manner from heaven that was said to rain down on Moses and the Israelites in their years of exodus. 

However, the vendors at the Fourways Farmers Market are on another level. The food there is downright delicious. Its cool that they have vendors from all over the world, if you want authentic Korean BBQ, Jamaican Jerk Chicken or Mexican food cooked by some mamacitas then the farmers market is the place for you.

It’s lovely that its outdoors and that they have live acoustic musicians on stage, playing guitar and singing their sweet songs with their beautiful voices. It’s such a good vibe. Actually, I had one of my best times there since moving to Johannesburg earlier this year. And, of course I had awesome company. 

I examined all that the market had to offer, from top to bottom and I picked my menu of choice. 

  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken (R45)
  • Korean BBQ (R85)
  • Sumting Fresh (R90) 
  • Sumting Fresh Berry Nice (R45)
  • Churros (R20 each)

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

This was honestly one of the most well-prepared chicken dishes I have tasted in my entire life. It blew my mind hole. I think it’s because its seasoning is a spice mix I had never encountered in my life. Although it is braaied and that gives it that familiar smoky flavor. When they served it to me, I was asked if I wanted it to be mild or hot, and me being me said, “I want it to be authentically Jamaican” so however it is normally served in Jamaica will be awesome. The sauce the jerk chicken was dressed in packed a mighty punch as Jamaicans like it hot. However, the parts that didn’t have the sauce, genuinely enjoyed. 

I also had an interesting conversation with Patrick, the Jamaican cook, which was sparked by me asking him if he had encountered Xenophobia from South Africans and unfortunately, he had. Which is a shame because Jamaican culture is beloved here and around the globe. Later, as a farewell, I dropped the corniest of pick-up lines to cheer him up. I asked, “Are you from Jamaica? Coz Jamakin’ me crazy”, we both smiled and waved goodbye. 

Korean BBQ

Now this was super tasty, the Koren Mama put her foot in it, as the African Americans say. In the kitchen, she’s the one. This woman had the sauce. 

Urban Dictionary Definition

The meal was ultra-crispy deep-fried chicken covered in some kind of ‘sweet chilli sauce’ (as we call it in South Africa) that was sprinkled with sesame seeds. There was also rice with a phenomenal soy-based sauce. The only reason I’m not saying it was ‘out of this world’ is because it was from another part of this world. I also liked how she had cling wrap so you can cover your food if you haven’t finished it in one sitting. It shows that she’s prepared and thinks about her customer’s needs. 

Sumting Fresh 

Now the service at Sumting Fresh was incredible. The staff had phrases they would say when you asked for extra cheese etc. The leader was a charismatic individual, I laughed at their banter while I was waiting for my freshly prepared food. I had the Italian Stallion menu option, which was two crumbed deep-fried chicken schnitzels, on a bagel, with a napolitana sauce, skinny fries and of course, in the sumthing fresh tradition, a generous serving of parmesan cheese. 

At my first bite I thought, is this really worth the instahype? But truth be told later that night I finished my swaggered up chicken burger and the chicken was still crispy. And I tasted that sometimes the familiar tastes recreated with the finest ingredients does offer sumting new. 

Berry Nice

You guessed it, the drink was berry nice. It was a berry flavoured ginger beer with some fresh fruit for garnish and over time the fruit infused with the liquids, increasing its virant flavour. Honestly, and you know your girl is honest, at first did think it was a bit overpriced (R45). However, with South Africa’s current rate of unemployment I was happy to see that the Sumting Fresh staff was about 20 plus. Also as a customer, you are also paying for good service and the Sumting Fresh stall gives you that in abundance. 

Churros Stall

If a donut is just a vetkoek that went to a private school, then a churro is the donuts Mexican exchange student. It’s all deep fried sweetened white dough, although churros are crunchy and have a sweet filling. At the stall they had the options of Nutella, caramel and melkkos which is milk tart filling. What is it about crispy deep-fried foods? Where did we as humans acquire this taste? Where did we go wrong? Is it because it’s just entertaining to eat? However, I didn’t feel guilty about the possibility of gaining weight, instead I found eating my churro entirely pleasurable. #NoGuiltyPleasures

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Movie Review by Khanyisile Msebenzi 

Genre: Superhero Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

Girl Boss Rating: 6/10

The X-Men franchise has spanned 19 years and 12 movies! The latest installment opened recently with Sophie Turner playing Jean Gray. I must admit that missing Game of Thrones made me go see this movie after seeing ‘Sansa Stark’ would be playing lead.

I have watched a few X-Men movies, particularly the earlier movies but have missed a few, and I was worried I wouldn’t quite understand what was going on. Coupled with the negative reviews all over the internet about it being the worst-rated movie in the X-Men franchise, I went in with low expectations of enjoying the movie. 

But can a superhero movie with powerful female leads like Jessica Chastain, Sophie Turner, and Jennifer Lawrence really disappoint? As a feminist, I say a big NO. All young girls should watch this movie just for that.  

I quite enjoyed the movie BUT it is a movie that should have gone straight to TV and not the cinema. It just didn’t go deep enough. The main character in this movie is Jean Grey, played by Sophie Turner, has telepathic and telekinetic powers and gets hit by a powerful cosmic energy that she absorbs and she becomes the most powerful mutant (x-man). She doesn’t understand her power, and at first can’t control it. This script failed to go deep into the goings on in Jean Grey’s mind and did just ok in exploring some of her moral dilemmas. 

The movie also didn’t go deep into Jessica Chastain’s character as a villain, as a female villain they should have gone deeper.

My favourite line is when after a space mission, Raven, played by Jennifer Lawrence, says to Charles Xavier “we should really be called X-Women because it is always the female mutants saving the day and saving male mutants.” Boom!

Why you should see it: It’s enjoyable and you don’t feel the two hours, it goes too fast. 

Superhero movies are amongst the best medium to change the gender divide and bring gender equality because female superheros can be imagined to be as powerful as men, without betraying what makes them female. I can’t wait for a time in the world when men and women are seen as equal regardless of their differences, which is what the whole X-Men franchise is about. X-Men really is about the fact that we live in a world where people are different and we should accept all humans with their differences, none is better than the other. And that message was still very clear in this movie and that’s what made me give it’s rating a point extra. 

What I didn’t like:

It has no depth. It doesn’t explore any of the characters deep enough. For example, it had an opportunity to look into long time leader of the X-Men, Charles Xavier, and look at the role of his ego and moral issues around his encroaching on the free will of others etc, but it failed. 

TV Production on the Real!

Simply put: the entertainment industry is not as fantastic as it appears to be or is made out to be. I am not trying to discourage your ambitions about being a known name in the industry nor am I trying to derail you from living your best life mingling with all manner of celebrities. But for what it’s worth, I’d like to share on what I’ve personally experienced with the hope that you will find it useful as you figure out your way in and around the industry. 

The prospect of getting into the entertainment industry was a thrill for me, utterly exciting! As a writer I was of course looking forward to tapping into screenwriting and contributing to the telling of African stories and manipulating them for motion picture. Additionally, I was also looking forward to meeting these celebrated faces I’d be potentially working with, building relationships and working on great shows together. I wanted to meet them and experience them live and direct as well as discover the people that they really are behind the cameras and make-up. I imaged the production office to be a space with a lively buzz, infested with creative heads that keep the fire in the next person burning. The thought of being in a space that encourages creativity and having people to bounce ideas off of, was so welcome. Although secretly I must admit that I had hoped that, that very space would also offer some peace and quiet for when I was writing and just needing it for my sanity, you know?

Photo by Jakob Owens

Generally, I was excited and it’s good to get into the industry with zeal because, as I have learned, you will need it. The entertainment industry is not just fun and games, it’s a lot of hard work – a whole lot more hard work actually. Creating TV involves a lot of people who are well coordinated and clear on their roles. If one person doesn’t do their job or slacks at it, it slows everybody down and no matter what happens, you do not want to slow down production because that has an impact on post-production, which may result in an episode being delivered late to the client and that affects the airing schedule of a channel, further affecting viewers who await what would be their favourite show. It’s a lot and so you can also imagine how tempers often flair in this type of environment, the pressure is high!

Generally I find it hard to work with people who struggle to control their emotions i.e. people who shout. I’ve experienced a lot of that too and it relates to the pressure which is part of the industry. Although I hate to offer any understanding towards people that shout, I learned to be understanding of people in such a pressured environment because of how sensitive they can get. When you’re in a space where there are only creative people, you experience the tangibility of how they take their work personally. Erykah Badu said it: “Now keep in mind that I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.” And I guess that was the first major lesson for me and I too realised that I was sensitive about what I put out for the world to digest. That’s the one side of this industry – understanding and dealing with the pressure. 

Photo by Erica Lewis

The other side of it is in the finished product, what viewers perceive as easy and glamorous when they sit at home entertained and this part involves the celebrated faces that so many of us keep track of on various social media platforms. Celebrities are hard work guys. In the production shows that I have worked on, I have had to engage celebrities, request them to feature on particular episodes of shows and have had to work with and around their schedules. And man oh man, the egos! I don’t know what happens when you enjoy a huge following on Instagram, when you can afford a certain lifestyle that places you above ‘the rest’… I can’t tell you what it does to one’s level of decency towards how they treat other people; being mindful of keeping time, recognising and respecting other people, offering a simple greeting etc. I have engaged celebrities that feel justified to be rude, to be cold and that go as far as to label other people as ‘nobodies’. Of course not all of them are like this, there are those who come and join you at the table without belittling you or questioning your significance and cooperate fully to ensuring a finished product and not once stopping to make you feel as though they are doing you a favour.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova

If you love partying and staying out late you will no doubt enjoy that part of the job where you’re either attending or filming a launch, an opening of something where celebrities and their friends join in the do, take lots of snaps and share on their social media pages. The free drinks and other free bees are there for your indulgence but I would love for you to understand the work that goes in producing shows and working with celebrities. It’s not all rosy. It’s hard work. You will not be always happy at work, you will have days where you want to quit, celebrities that you will find yourself working with may not necessarily be friendly, these celebrities might not even call you by name let alone look at you in your eyes when they talk to you but don’t be discouraged. If you want to be a great writer then write. You want to be the best camera man, go for it. You want to show off your skills as an editor, honey, do it! You thrive at managing people and seeing to that everyone is flourishing in their roles, be that production manager. But be careful not to have high expectations of people and certain worlds. Polish yourself up, learn, focus, protect your heart, your mind and creative space and deliver yourself in splendour. No one is on standby to make things easy for you nor should you think the television production industry is a walk in the park. It’s tough but it can be beautiful. Keep your focus on.

Photo by Tyler Hendy

Game of Thrones S08E01 Girl Boss Review

The event we have all been waiting for is upon us, winter has come. And, girl, it didn’t disappoint. From the title sequence, it was as EPIC as epic fantasy demands! The 3D animation map of the Game of Thrones world was magnificent, it didn’t just show you the 3D unfolding’s and mechanical constructions of the different castle’s, it also showed you inside the buildings. It was spellbinding! And, when the iron throne rose from the floor and unfolded, our viewing party all cheered in joy and excitement. From the beginning we knew, nothing was same.

I don’t know where to start…It starts with shots of The Unsullied marching in snow, to Winterfell. I can still hear the sound of the mechanical marching reverberating in my ears. And then, yooooohhhh, the power couple of the century, Queen Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow (who we found out in the previous season is actually, the rightful King, Aegon Targaryen) entering Winterfell, side by side on horseback, accompanied by the greatest army ‘modern’ Westeros has ever seen. The camera work of the opening scene is breath taking. Again, we all roared in enchantment. Expect Sizwe, who was watching his very first Game of Thrones Episode… If this was not dramatic enough, we then see shots of two glorious full-grown dragons flying over ice capped mountains, the Queens mighty army and Winterfell. The reactions to this military supremacy was electrifying. For us watching at home and for the hardy Northerners of Winterfell.

The Lady of Winterfell, Sansa Stark- Played by Sophie Turner
The proud Mother of Dragons, Queen Daenerys Targaryen- Played by Emilia Clarke

My mind was blown many times throughout the episode. Entire storylines came full circle and people that we have been following for years, met for the very first time or were reunited after years of being separated. The most mind-boggling scene for me has got to be the final scene, of Jamie arriving to Winterfell after riding on horseback from Kings Landing. The way they conjure up the suspense, as you see the figure of a rider, hooded and dressed in all back. They off mount the horse, take their gloves off and lastly the helmet. Revealing the face of the greying Jamie Lannister, the pompous prick we’ve grown to love, looking up into the light. Then he looks over his shoulder sensing someone watching him. The look of recognition in Jamie’s eyes, of Brandon Stark (the Three Eyed Raved) the boy he attempted to murder when he was a lesser man back in the last scene of S01E01. Jamie was #SHOOK and we at home were undeniably discombobulated.

In our post-episode discussion, it was revealed to me what the White Walkers represent. Climate Change and Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was not the first time I had been enlightened but somehow it previously didn’t absorb into my mentality. The feeling of coming to terms with the allegory of Game of Thrones was positively terrifying.

Here we are on Earth, “The Pale Blue Dot”

Seen from about 6 billion kilometers Earth appears as a tiny dot (the blueish-white speck approximately halfway down the brown band to the right) within the darkness of deep space. Photograph taken from Voyager 1 in 1990.

“We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives.

The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there — on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturing’s, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light . . .

To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Carl Sagan, speech at Cornell University, October 13, 1994

The Earth is on the brink of an ecological catastrophe. Due to humanities negative impact on our environment. A lifestyle that we have created and perpetuate in our day to day lives will only serve to destroy our species. But, the planet will prevail. Mother Earth’s capacity to incubate life is miraculous. Hence, it is us that will suffer and perish if we do not act now to reduce our carbon emissions, plastic pollution, deforestation and all the other capitalistic monstrosities. We are the people of Westeros who choose to take sides and subscribe to the ideologies of powerful people that believe in the delusion of their own grandeur. Who alienate entire communities due to petty border and territorial disputes. In the end it does not matter. The decision isn’t between this side and that side. It’s between the beauty of life or the end. Are we going to choose life or face extinction? Whether you’re a Make America Great Again Trump supporter or a Black Lives Matter Activist in the end we are human beings and we need to put our differences aside and face the end of our world together as one. Because, darling, the final season of global warming has come.

The Night King

The Living Room- Girl Boss Food Review

Your girl went to Living Room in Maboneng to taste the food and feel the atmosphere. The Maboneng Precinct is a trendy area in the Johannesburg CBD. Maboneng means ‘place of light’ in seSetho and the first time I went there I thought this is the South Africa the enlightened Nelson Mandela envisioned in his 46664 prison cell in Robben Island.

Photo by Simi Gumede

It’s a place where the cool people gather on weekends. Although I am new to Joburg I am aware there is unfortunately glaring inequality like many other places in South Africa.

I guess the question is, did I feel alive in the living room? And the answer is yes, it’s a roof top café that has a lot of plant life. There is something calming about seeing all the green of the plants, it’s beautiful. It’s actually more of an event venue but when they’re not hosting a private event. The place is open as a restaurant from 11am-10pm from Wednesday to Friday. Therefore, one should check the online calendar if planning on going there on Saturday or Sunday as they be hosting a private function. If not then they have Djs come through on weekends and there is a chilled vibe. The music is that music that hipsters listen to that we really can’t name the genre unless you’re a music head. I like to think of it as ‘post-genre’ music, lol.

Hipster Dancing GIF by Neurads - Find & Share on GIPHY

Lets Talk About The Food

I shared the food with my sister as there is no way I could eat all of it by my selfie.

For starters I ordered from the Gourmet Tapas section of the menu

I got the SAFA Classic- R30. Which is two small crispy beef, veg spaghetti and pickled cucumber spring rolls served with peppadew cream cheese dip. The spring rolls were crispy and the filling tasted of crispy beef and veg. Crispy beef is basically browned beef, when you fry it on a high temperature and that brown seal forms. That’s the flavorful part and it tasted mostly of that. It had simple yet effective taste but I’m was left feeling, where are the aromatics?

Photo by Simi Gumede

I also got the Dimsum Yum- R40. Which was 4 steamed Asian Pastries with coriander chicken filling. It was delicious! I Highly recommend this as a starter. The chicken filling was tender and flavorful with coriander and ginger. The dipping sauce tasted of soy, sesame oil, chilli and there sweetness to it. It was lovely. I love the taste of soy sauce there was a time where I would put soy in all my food. And, every time I did I would say, “it’s time for my boy, soy”, so soy is my homeboy.

Photo by Simi Gumede

The mains we got was the Ocean Breeze- R115. Which is fresh mussels steamed in white wine and garlic. Finished in either a mussel broth or a yellow Thai coconut curry. Served with two fresh mini rolls. It was also very tasty. The mussels were fresh and not overpowering. I’m not a fan of mussels as I think they taste too much of the sea. But I think the ones I have had in the past were not fresh. These fresh ones, were the ones, damn, it was so good. It was creamy as the sauce base was coconut cream, there was the taste of garlic, coriander, lemon and lemon grass. I enjoyed it and I am converted. I am now a believer of mussels. However, I wished they had been served with noodles not bread rolls as you just want to slurp all the soupy goodness.

Photo by Simi Gumede

We also got the Stripped- R140. Which is a Grilled Sirloin (250g) steak cut into strips served with a tangy mustard cream and french fries or a small salad. I got fries of course, as I haven’t out grown potato chips yet. I think if there was ever a marker of adulthood it would be when you get the small salad instead of fries. That’s when I’ll know I’m grown AF, I don’t play.

Photo by Simi Gumede

I asked for the steak to be medium and I got what I asked for. It tasted of chargrilled beef and herbs. The mustard cream was tasty. I guess it depends on how you like your food. Some people want their meat to taste like meat and everything else must enhance that natural flavor of the meat. Whereas I like my food to taste of meat and the seasoning.

Photo by Simi Gumede

For desert, we wanted the Peachy -R45. It is a glass jar filled with grilled peach, ginger cookie crumble, lemon and mint curd. Topped with ice cream but unfortunately it wasn’t available. So, we shared the Yes Please -R45, it was a Deep-Fried Bar One with Salted Caramel. It was yummy for sure. The batter was little crispy and warm. I could taste the batter also had lemon juice in the dough making it balanced and not overwhelmingly sweet. The salted caramel tasted lush but the texture was grainy as some of the sugar was still crystallized and there wasn’t enough of it, sadly. 

All in all, I really enjoyed the living room. I even danced a little with some happy strangers. I definitely recommend the spot, but I wish the music was more distinctively South African. So I can feel I am really living the post-apartheid South African dream.

Girl Boss Rating: 4/5

Simi Gumede