27 January 2012

My South African gift guide

Before I spread the love here in Germany, I thought I'd entertain you with some of the things I stuffed my suitcase with. Note that this image is cropped. See the full image here.

First up, items procured at Local Works, Stellenbosch. I don't plug this store just because I worked there for a while, I simply find, time and again, that it has a great selection. A case in point is the blue necklace to the right. I actually bought this about a year ago, but so many people complimented me on it during my visit that I bought two more: the blue shweshwe one to the left, also with polystyrene beads, and the green and black one to the top, with a heavier bead for the inside. Besides these gifts from me to me, I also got the colourful flags there. They're intended for my husband's colleague's teenage daughter. I'm not sure what this flag obsession is—seen any wedding or party pictures lately?—but these are really sweet and I love the mix of African fabrics. Lastly I also got the Stellenbosch book there. This book is available in Afrikaans, English, and... German! Hurray!

Coming back to fashion: another thing that's clearly very much in at the moment is the paper bead necklace. I got this one at a store in Kalk Bay, but they're currently available pretty much anywhere crafts or clothing are sold.

Another excellent Stellenbosch store, is the famed Oom Samie se Winkel (a picture of it is here). This is one of the many stores that feature a wide variety of South African teas, and I selected that package of honeybush because it was produced in the area where my husband's parents live. (The Freshpak rooibos tea you can buy at any regular supermarket.) The small Amarula bottles presented a nice alternative to lugging back a large expensive bottle that can ultimately only be given to one person or family—although honestly, you'd probably end up drinking it yourself. I really like the Nice 'n Spicy spice mixes with recipes on the back, because they're flat and light, and because it seems quite meaningful to give someone a bit of your country's culture to try for themselves. Bobotie and biryani seemed the most South African choices to make—even if biryani is somewhat more international. I think the !ke Cape fynbos oils bath salts should make a good gift for any lady who'd like to soak away her troubles in a South African remedy.

I mentioned Cape Town's Imagenius in a previous post, and then when taking the above picture promptly forgot to feature something I got there: an actual "shit list" that my husband has already put to use—fortunately not by writing my name on it. The cheerful Africa colouring books are also from there. It seems that Putumayo have extended the illustrative identity of their CDs to make these adorable books.

Lastly, I bought the vintage postcards of South African fynbos at some other store in Kalk Bay that I don't remember the name of. Postcards like this can be found in stores dealing in nostalgia, antique stores, or at a market like the Church Street Antiques Market, right next to Imagenius in Cape Town.

Stores that I didn't revisit to buy anything—one can only take a finite amount of luggage afterall—but that did impress me, included the Mooiberge Farmstall and the Stellenbosch University Botanical Gardens BioBuild store. The Mooiberge store isn't flashy, but it has a very wide range of tea and other food or drink products at reasonable prices. They also seemingly carry every wine produced in the area. Biobuild has many products relating to South African flora, from food products, to books on wild flowers and gardening, to beauty products made from local ingredients.

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