For South African television and radio personality Carol Ofori, celebrating her heritage is something that is ingrained into her everyday life. As someone who is proudly South African, Carol has her roots etched deep in the country and everything it stands for.
In fact, Carol is so inspired by South Africa, and Africa as a whole, that she has written a series of six children’s books titled The African Adventures of Sena and Katlego. The book series, published by Lingua Franca Publishers, is a delightful and educational read for children celebrating Africa and its various countries, landscapes, traditions and more.
Heritage Day in South Africa
Ahead of Heritage Day this Saturday, Carol opens up about the importance of celebrating her heritage as a South African, a mom and an African.
Why do you think it’s so important to celebrate our heritage as South Africans?
I think it’s important to celebrate our heritage as South Africans because it allows us to remember just how dynamic we are. We are dynamic in our food and in our culture in every single way and knowing where we come from, it also aids us in doing better in where we are going. It also reminds us to preserve our culture.
What makes you the proudest to be South African?
I just love being South African. We have such a painful history and yet, as a people, we can laugh, we can celebrate, and we can come together. Our country is going through the most right now and it’s often hard to see the positives but, in light of it all, I am still so proud.
What cuisine reminds you the most of your heritage?
In South Africa we have got so many delicious meals but, for me, a hearty South African stew reminds me the most of my heritage. My mom always made a great stew and dumpling! And, of course, pap! I have my own off days with pap, but it remains so proudly South African. I also love eating samp and it also reminds me so much of our heritage. A creamy samp is always a winner. Oh, and let’s not forget a braai!
How important is your heritage to you and the way in which you raise your children?
My heritage is so important to me and my family. Our nanny is a Pedi lady, and she speaks Sepedi with my kids and it’s so great to see their grasp of the language. I live in KZN now and my children are learning Zulu at school, so I am loving the dynamics of that in our household.
My husband is also Ashanti, a tribe in Ghana, and the kids are growing up with a mix of South African and Ghanaian heritage which is so inspiring to watch. We truly are a pan-African household, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
One of the books in your series celebrates South African culture and heritage. What was your goal when creating it?
The reason I wrote these books is for young, South African minds to be inquisitive about the continent. I wanted children to learn about the continent from a positive place where they have taken an interest in reading and learning more.
The unification of Africans is such an important thing for me. As South Africans, we are part of a bigger pie and the embracing of each other will allow us to start thinking of ways to work together and move this entire continent forward. In doing so, each of our countries will thrive.
Why do you think sharing South African stories and having South African conversations is important for children?
It’s important to share South African stories and it’s important to share African stories. It’s important to have these conversations. When children hear things from their parents, they remember the things you say so when you read to them, it’s so impactful.
Having books like these that spark conversations around our continent and I wanted to ensure that parents are equipped with great answers, great insights and great stories to share with their children about who we are as South Africans and who we are as Africans.