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Culture

Did I ace Proudly South African's #LivingLekkerLocally challenge?

S Mag's editor-in-chief went on a mission to purchase all things indigenous and locally crafted within our beautiful borders — and learnt an important lesson along the way

Emmanuel Tjiya S Mag Editor-in-chief
S Mag editor-in-chief Emmanuel Tjiya found lots of locally made, handcrafted wooden furniture to love at Homewood's store in Kramerville, Johannesburg. Tjiya's wrap shirt is by local label ALCA.
S Mag editor-in-chief Emmanuel Tjiya found lots of locally made, handcrafted wooden furniture to love at Homewood's store in Kramerville, Johannesburg. Tjiya's wrap shirt is by local label ALCA.
Image: Ray Manzana

The term “local is lekker” is a popular idiom that has become part of our Mzansi lexicon; but more than ever it’s time it becomes part of our ecosystem and everyday lifestyle. 

For most of my career as a pop culture vulture, the expression has represented the pride and joy of embracing and highlighting home-grown sound, local filmmaking and fashion. So, when our friends at Proudly South African challenged me to join the #LivingLekkerLocally movement this festive season, I thought — as a champion of melanic magic and Mzansi excellence in arts and culture — I would ace the exam.

Style is everything to me, so if I was going to embrace Proudly South African's challenge of purchasing all things indigenous and locally crafted within our beautiful borders, I had to look the part. I settled for a crisp white wrap shirt from the autumn/winter 2023 collection of one of my fave local designers, ALCA — formerly ALC.

Fit check done, I headed to my local supermarket to purchase some delicious Christmas treats. The #WhatsOnYourTable part of the challenge seemed simple on paper: fill your grocery cart with local produce and South African-made goods.

I didn’t do too badly at this task, but I’m also embarrassed to admit that I didn’t excel at it. I almost failed the test on arrival at the supermarket because I didn't school myself on how I would spot indigenous produce and locally crafted goods.

Thank God, I had an insider at Proudly South African on speed dial to give me a quick crash course: it's as easy as looking out for the Proudly South African logo on the packaging. Other important wording to look out for on food labels as a consumer are “produced in SA”, “manufactured in SA” or “Made in SA”. 

Once that was clarified, my Christmas shopping was a breeze. I picked all my essentials in less than an hour. These included Huletts Sugar for my holiday desserts and baked goodies, Chuck Chilli for my hangover cravings, Coca-Cola to quench my thirst, spices from Minnies Food Enterprise to defend my title as my family’s braai master, plus Maq cleaning and washing products to keep the home spotless.

Tjiya's grocery haul of local produce and South African-made goods includes some familiar favourites.
Tjiya's grocery haul of local produce and South African-made goods includes some familiar favourites.
Image: Ray Manzana

Next, I headed to Homewood’s store in Kramerville, Johannesburg, to check out the handcrafted and custom wood furniture on offer. Their range is 100% sustainable with locally sourced hardwood such as Cottonwood, River Red Gum, Camphor, Blackwood as well as Sugar/Spotted Gum. Not only did the furniture look good, it felt amazing when you touched it. Their Vilakazi dining table is to die for: I will be saving my coins for it. But for now, I settled for a cutting board for my kitchen.

The biggest lesson I learnt from taking Proudly South African's #LivingLekkerLocally challenge is that we all play a huge part in building SA's economy. Buying local is paramount in job creation, community development, building economic stability, ensuring ethical production practices and more. So, as you do your holiday shopping, remember to #BuyLocalToCreateJobs.

For more information about the #LivingLekkerLocally campaign, visit the Proudly South African website or connect with Proudly South African on FacebookXInstagramTikTok or LinkedIn.

This article was sponsored by Proudly South African.