South Africa in London: Nelson Mandela, The Lion King and Cape Town Fish Market

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Ntokozo Kunene came to London to study Fashion Design, and is currently interning at an African publication. Ntokozo tells us her South African highlights in London.

Statues of Nelson Mandela

You can’t talk about South Africa without mentioning Nelson Mandela – our symbol of reconciliation, and what it means to be South African. London has two statues dedicated to him.

The first, a bustĀ outside Royal Festival Hall, was unveiled in 1985 by Oliver Tambo – another stalwart of the fight against apartheid. In Parliament Square, you’ll find a life-size statue of Mr Mandela, which he unveiled himself in 2007.

The Lion King in London

Several South Africans star in the award-winning musical The Lion King.

Brown Lindiwe Mkhize plays Rafiki, Andile Gumbi plays Simba, and Sello Maaka Ka Ncube once starred as Mufasa. South African musician and Grammy award-winning artist Lebo M contributed to the soundtrack of both the original animated film and the London theatre production at the Lyceum Theatre.

South African Food: Cape Town Fish Market and Nandos

When I arrived in London I was happy to find that one of my favourite South African restaurants from back home, Cape Town Fish Market, also has a branch here.

The walls are decorated with pictures, commissioned from various Capetonian museums, depicting the fishing community of Cape Town.

The menu is a mix between South African and Japanese cuisine and caters to both meat and fish lovers. I thoroughly enjoy sitting around the Teppenyaki grill table and watching as my meal is prepared.

South Africa is a diverse country of people of various origins and this is reflected in our food. Few people know that the highly popular Nandos (Portuguese flamed grilled peri peri chicken) found all over London, is actually a South African chain.

South African Shopping at Savannah

There are times when we miss the comforts of home, and when this happens we head to the many Savannah stores, which stock South African food and drink.

This is a good place to purchase genuine biltong, a kind of dried/cured meat that most South Africans cannot live without. You can also find maize meal – corn that is ground to a fine powder and used to cook our one of our staple starches called pap/meilipap. From South African cider and wine to our local sweets and crisps, Savannah is like taking a trip to the country itself.

Where else can you find South African culture in London? Tell us in the comments below.


  1. Jim Stuks says:

    Great blog post, I’ve been to the Cape Town Fish Market a few times and it’s brilliant, amazing selection of fish. Thanks for this post.

  2. Zoe Craig says:

    Myerson Fine Art will be returning to 201 Portobello Road from 10th – 18th April 2012 presenting “Love Poem”, an exhibition of new paintings by South African artist Penelope Stutterheime.