Since 1995, we have been encouraged to celebrate our cultural diversity and heritage. Then, in 2005, Jan Scannell (‘Jan Braai’) started a campaign to make the day about something we all share: the braai.
24 September was dubbed National Braai Day and endorsed by the National Heritage Council after Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu took on the role of patron by donning an apron and getting stuck into a piece of boerie.
The making of Jan Braai
Jan’s father taught him how to braai at a very young age. He remembers the first time he attempted to light a fire in his garden… He tried to create a flame using wet leaves, and all he managed to create was a lot of smoke!
He spent a lot of time behind the braai with his grandparents. His maternal grandfather used to cook food over vine stumps; his other grandpa took him to collect wood in the veld outside of Kleinmond, Western Cape. And firelighters were totally out of the question! Instead, they’d douse the wood with paraffin.
With this braai heritage coursing through his veins, Jan could not deny his calling for long. After studying accounting and then working in financial services for a brief period, he resigned from his job to focus all his attention on transforming Heritage Day into National Braai Day.
We were lucky enough to have Jan share of his most scrumptious recipes with us in celebration of Heritage Day, and they did not disappoint!