Or, how to recognise a South African by the way that he packs a barbeque fire.

I am asked at times how to recognise a South African. Well, there are many ways and probably the Afrikaans accent is the easiest, but should the fellow stay quiet there is another way.

Astonishing and something few non-Afrikaners know is that you can figure out a lot from a man (or an Afrikaner girl) by the way he/she makes a fire. It shows his breeding and class, if any. The different geographical locations play a big role in this. For instance, those from the old Cape Colony, (that is Cape Town area), would look around for stupid vineyard vines to make the fire with. Mind you, they eat fish too which is rather strange behaviour and then, grilled sandwiches instead of decent pap (grits, porridge) with a Sheba sauce. They are very strange people and wine drinkers of note, which I am sure explains it.

The Free State lads, genuinely decent people that eat pap since birth, use corn stalks instead of wood, there being very few trees there but enough corn to feed Africa (or used to be). It is remarkable how much heat those stalks generate, and they swear the meat tastes better too. The average size of these lads stops all arguments before it starts. They are not small people in any sense of the word.

The Transvaalers or Vaalpense, these days known as Gatte, Gautengers, now they really know about barbecue fires. They stack the wood like a loose square on top of each other with a large hole in the middle for air, or so they explain. At some stage, the structure would collapse, and you have decent enough coals, so it works very well. This is the traditional way. In older days that was also how people were burned at the stake but anyway.

Natal Province folks, these days KwaZulu Natal, still the Last British Outpost in Africa, stack the wood like a pyramid against each other, pointing upwards. Wishing no doubt that they were on the beach they would start a massive bonfire with gasoline stolen from somewhere. There is a trick to this, too much fuel and it will explode which is not the object and comes with lots of experience of which they have plenty. They learn this before they can walk.

For myself, I don't need to make fires, I learned early in life if you hang around and looked busy someone else would do so but I can do so. But I will say, where I grew up only hardwood would do. But then, I am vegan these days. How have things changed?

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