Our look at the world… South Africa

A few weeks ago Daddy came up with a very lovely idea – at least I think it was his idea…well, that is, he keeps telling me it is his idea 😉 – once a month we should pick a country and make their traditional pudding/cake.  I decided that we should also look at other things too…like the chosen country’s flag, people and culture (at a basic level!) maybe any music or art influences.

Yesterday saw our very first ‘our world’ project.  We decided to start  this little adventure with South Africa..after all that is where we are currently based 🙂

Before we started Livvy and I went shopping for a nice world map that we could put up in her bedroom, we collected a few art supplies that we could use and of course the all important baking ingredients for our chosen cake that we would be making.

world map

I have to say that I was a little worried that this project would be a bit too advanced for Liv’s but she embraced it with such gusto that I cannot wait for our next ‘Our World’ project!

Here is what we covered….

South Africa – The Rainbow Nation

South Africa is known as the “Rainbow Nation” a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu – used after apartheid came down to describe the new South Africa as a  multi-cultural unified society.

This magnificent country has rich and diverse wildlife, mainly known for the “big five” (elephants, buffalos, rhinos, leopards and lions) but also home to many wonderful birds such as the egret, cape eagle owls and even penguins!

South Africa has an amazing landscape; coastal, mountains , bush, desert…it’s national flower, the Protea is found in most parts of South Africa.

Culturally South Africa is incredibly diverse – there are 11 (yes 11!) recognized national languages…English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Swazi!

Upon my internet travels I came upon a wonderful site that is fantastic for printing out little “facts files” for different countries: http://www.makingfriends.com/world/thinking_day_passport.htm

Follow the link below and it will take you to a webpage for you to print and colour your very own South African flag:


Now for the fun bit….. just imagine all those years ago the first settlers arriving in Cape Town after a long sea voyage greeted by the wondrous Table Mountain and a mixture of unfamiliar sights and sounds… The Voortrekkers had to face trekking through dense African bushveld never knowing what might be over the next mountain or around the next bend of the river…now also imagine waking up to a glorious African sunrise and sipping  moer koffie dunking a biscuit in to your hot coffee to set you up for the day…the Buttermilk Rusk….

Rusks are available all over the world it’s true…but the Ouma Rusk is synonymous with South Africa (you can find Ouma Rusks even in the UK)!  For this reason alone Livvy and I choose to use this as our baking part of the project….

Buttermilk Rusks


375g Butter (softened)
500g Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1.5kg Self Raising Flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
500ml Buttermilk

How To Make

  1. Cream softened butter and sugar together
  2. Add eggs – one at a time and mix thoroughly
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the creamed butter mixture and stir with a fork
  4. Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture and combine well…mixture will turn into a dough, if it is too dry add a little milk and if it is too wet add a little more flour
  5. Knead the mixture, then grease a baking tray
  6. Roll the dough into golf ball sized balls and place close together onto the baking tray
  7. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC
  8. Cover baking tray with a sheet of baking paper and once oven is up to temperature place your dough balls into the oven
  9. Cook for around 30-45 minutes or until they have gone a slight golden brown color on top
  10. turn off the oven and turn out the “rusks” onto a cake rack or another cooled oven rack – separate the rusks and place back into the oven (on the wire rack) with the door left ajar – it is important to allow air circulate properly
  11. leave for a minium of 4 hours to dry out – leaving them over night is best 🙂
  12. Enjoy with your cup of moer Koffie 🙂

Last but no means least in our intrepid adventure through the South African bush we turn our attention to art and craft….the Zulu people are renowned for their brightly colored woven baskets and jewelry ..but it’s not that took Livvy’s fancy…Oh no she wanted to make an African drum!

I searched for a lovely clip on YouTube for some South Africans playing drums so I could show Livvy their style…I came across the following clip – it is worth saying that the video quality isn’t terribly good but it is fun to watch!


Here Is What You Need To Make Your Own African Drum

A Large Yogurt Container (one that has a lid) Or Similar
PVA Glue
Tissue Paper – Red and Green
Yellow and Blue Card

African Drum

How To Make

  1. Liberally smear the yogurt container with the PVA glue
  2. Tear tissue paper into strips and cover all of the yogurt container
  3. Next cut the yellow card into a circular shape so that it fits onto the top and bottom of the “drum”
  4. Lastly with your blue card cut into zig-zag shapes and place however you want (we used a zig-zag strip at the top and bottom of the drum)
  5. Go make some beautiful African drumming music!!

African Drum

I really hope you enjoyed our travel through South Africa…all the links are there for you to use to make your own journey through what is a truly fabulous country – it really is a wonderful little on-going project of fun for the whole family to enjoy!

Next time we visit England…. I wonder what tales we will uncover there…….


5 responses to “Our look at the world… South Africa

  1. What a wonderful journey you have taken us on….loved this mummy & daddy…..how can you not be inspired by this blog??? Just fabulous right down to the drum making…very well done flutterbys 🙂

  2. Awwwww!! Thank you sooooo much 🙂 It is an amazing journey to be on…One of the best things about “our world” projects is that it encompasses so many different subjects at the same time – and is truly wonderful to teach 🙂

  3. Pingback: Our Look At The World: England | flutterby rainbow·

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