The charming setting of Lapo’s Kitchen at the Josephine Mill, on the banks of the Liesbeek river was the stage of an unforgettable gastronomic experience Sunday the 8 September, when members of Friends of Thandolwethu NPO celebrated the first anniversary of their association with a solidarity lunch aimed at raising funds for their project.
Friends of Thandolwethu NPO was formed to support the establishment of a Reggio Emilia Inspired Early Childhood Centre in Samora Machel township, Philippi, a project conceived by members of the local community after a trip to the Belpaese. The vision is that of establishing and running an ECD centre inspired by the pedagogic approach developed in the city of Reggio Emilia.
The Consul of Italy in Cape Town, Emanuele Pollio, took part in the celebration and, in his address, spoke about three elements of connection between Italy and South Africa: education, solidarity, and love for food.
The Italian link to this project begins indeed with the pedagogic approach developed in Reggio Emilia, flows through the number of Italian-born members of the Friends of Thandolwethu NPO, and is reflected in the support that the association enjoys among the Italian community in Cape Town, embodied for the occasion in the amazing lunch that chef Lapo Magni prepared for this appointment.
Guest listened entranced while Lapo – who hails from Florence, the beating heart of Tuscany – described his own style as ‘Afro-Italian’, combining his Italian food knowledge and understanding of flavours with a more local view of using organic, sustainable and progressive ethics regarding the sourcing of his produce, focusing on supporting local enterprises with the focus on educating people and communities about food security and regenerative farming. Much of the organic produce for the meal came indeed from the Philippi Horticultural area, which is very close to Samora Machel.
The guests, who sat convivially at two long tables, started off the relaxed Sunday lunch enjoying some delicious Prosecco offered by Pedro Estrada Belli and Roberto Bottega of Vinotria.
Catherine Collingwood, Deputy Chairperson of Friends of Thandolwethu, gave a brief introduction to the the Reggio Emilia approach and invited the participants to reflect on the impact of education on our communities and to share their thoughts within each other, launching a conversation that will continue in future appointments. The next one will be a visit to Samora Machel township on Saturday 26th October for a walkabout in the community followed by project presentation and question and answer session.
The proceeds of this solidarity lunch went to Friends of Thandolwethu NPO, to support the ECD project to train the staff, build the centre, ensure quality educational activities and promote and disseminate innovative educational practices.