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Nosisa Mandela’s Marhewu

Nosisa Mandela’s Marhewu

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Recipe from Hunger for Freedom by Anna Trapido Marhewu (or amaHewu and mageu) is a mildly fermented beverage consumed by young and old alike. Nosisa Mandela is the daughter of Nelson Mandela’s cousin. Madiba’s cousin grew up in the former President’s household and of this time he said: ‘We boys had everything we needed from the cattle and fields. I was younger than him so he used to send me out to collect the cattle and then he used to milk the cattle himself and also take corn and grind it with a stone and we would eat it with amasi. There was Marhewu and imifino… we very seldom bought anything edible but we lacked for nothing.


1kg mealie meal
21/2L water
Selati sweetener or sugar, to taste


Combine the mealie meal and the water and leave it to soak overnight. During this process the mixture will begin to ferment.
Cook the ferment over a gentle heat, stirring constantly until the mealie meal is cooked through, and a soft pourable porridge is formed. Leave the mixture to cool.
Strain the fermented mealie melange through a sieve. It should have a creamy, pourable consistency and a tart, mildly sour taste. Dilute with additional water if necessary.
Add sugar or sweetener to taste and stir well to dissolve.

Nosisa Mandela’s Marhewu