Punch and Potjie in London

Punch and Potjie in London

There is one word that fills every Saffa’s heart up with the quintessence of home…Potjie

Punch and Potjie in London

There is one word that fills every Saffa’s heart with the quintessence of home… potjie. As you can imagine, when an avid South African friend of mine texted me about the Punch and Potjie competition, my hands clapped together like an overly excited seal in waterfront heaven. I immediately accepted the challenge and the team planning and desire to claim the potjie trophy began.

What did it entail?

· Gathering five other team members. This was done within an hour and half. Easy when you mention it is a pub event where one spends all day cooking potjies and making punch.
· Coming up with a team name within the event’s dress up theme: famous bands. Knowing we needed to represent South Africa in full force, we named ourselves Desmond and the Tutus. Yes – there actually is a band called Desmond and the Tutus. What better way to represent home than to channel our favourite archbishop and dress the remaining team members in ballet tutus.
· Collecting the entry fee (£35) from all team members. This event has apparently been running in Wandsworth for a number of years and has raised money for two Zimbabwean children’s schooling. If you do not already have goose bumps, wait until the punch and potjie’s marriage of fun and activity fills a summer’s day in London
· Running a team meeting over Sunday brunch to discuss the following:
· Allocation of roles and responsibilities within the team;
· Splitting out the remaining money on outfits and ingredients;
· Agreeing on what punch will be served;
· Revealing the magic of the ‘winning’ potjie recipe;
· Most importantly, sourcing a four litre potjie pot.

Challenge day

· All ingredients for the punch and potjie had been purchased and carefully separated into tupperwares.
· Arriving at our team captain’s house, we gathered all essentials and set off to GJ’s.
· Being one of the first teams to arrive, we picked one of the best potjie stands and started decorating anything we could get our hands on in GJ’s beer garden.
· With purple tutus on and our Desmond kitted out in a Primark £2.50 maroon blanket and printed mask, we started to assess the competitors.
· Perhaps I underestimated how truly South African we are – no matter where in the world we find ourselves. This was clearly a serious competition.
· Teams had designer bunting, photo booths, piñatas, games, activities, personalised mugs and strategic bribes for the judges.

Desmond and his potjie

The team

Team in photo booth

The Result

· Although our team had no more than printed Desmond Tutu faces and posters dotted all around GJ’s advertising ourselves, we came second based on pure taste.
·  Our strawberry, lime and mint mojitos were described as the perfect combination of refreshingly sweet with an addictive kick. When the judges arrived, our dear Desmond dazzled the judges with his humour and careful description of the love that had gone into making this potion.
· Our potjie celebrated instant gratification. Secret ingredients (only to name a few, with respect its inventor) ranged from coca cola, beer, bone marrow and lamb neck.
· We served frantically and sold out within an hour! Twenty litres of punch and four litres of slow cooked heaven.

Potjie toppings

Tutu on form

It was a long Saturday, but worth every bit of effort. Desmond and the Tutus became close friends of the Springbok Nude Girls, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and of course, Juan Direction. Desmond even managed to ensure every woman in GJ’s was tagged on her wrist as his official supporter and loving wife.

Springbok nude girls

Juan direction

Unfortunately, this was the last year of the Punch and Potjie competition. However, I would encourage all Saffas in London to partake in any event that rings true to your heritage. The sense of community is priceless and wherever you go, there will always be more than one Saffa standing around hot coals and chilled beverages.