What is your lens of the world? A tale of African resource.
Author: Denzel Heath
Perspective: This is the lens through which we see the world – drinks/design/experience. We see things differently. FORGET WHAT YOU KNOW. Focus on how Africans are optimistic and resourceful people.
To the world, Africa is synonymous with limited resources. It is poor financially with even poorer food management leading to wide spread famine. Unemployment is at an all-time high and African currencies at an all-time low. Africa has the highest rate of urbanization while sporting poor infrastructure.
Africa has over a billion people of which the majority is under the age of 30years. Crime rates are soaring – Africa is indeed, the dark continent. And at the heart of all of these diseases that pester the cradle of mankind is high levels of corruption. At least, this is what an outsider would say.
Over the past decade, due to increase in demand of minerals from the East, the African economy has enjoyed growth above the global average. Whilst being far removed from the East and the West, Africa still enjoys the same privileges in innovation trends seen in the rest of the world, but due to underfunding Africans are forced to be more resourceful.
You see, in nature, when an animal is cornered by a predator the animal has one of two choices – fight or flight. And to bring this colourful analogy back to relevance regarding the topic at hand, that of perspective, today in Africa, we have one of two choices – lead through innovation or follow mundanely.
It is simply a matter of perspective. It is this perspective that I believe has made Africans’ a force to be reckoned with and today there is a new breed of African devoted to leading the way into the future in a multitude of fields of expertise.
Financial and Energy Projects
Africa is behind innovative projects such as mobile money transfer, that has since its implementation in Africa been adopted by the West. Groundbreaking kinetic energy projects such as the Saphonianin invented in Tunisia, a bladeless wind turbine that uses a sail to generate mechanical energy.
In the medical field we have been forced to be innovative and individuals like 26year old Cameroonian, Arthur Zang, have lead the field in mobile ECG testing through his invention called the Cardiopad allowing for testing in the most remote areas of Africa.
We have even, contrary to popular belief, experienced an influx of western innovators into the African continent due to the fact that there are fewer competitors and a less regulatory environments, which clearly leads to greater opportunities for experimentation.
Even in the field of gender equality, we see Africa leading the way with females being more active in the fields of agriculture – it is the women who grow most of Africa’s food, and who own one-third of all its businesses.
Mootee Bar in Johannesburg
So what does this all have to do with a little bar in Johannesburg? Well, as most hospitality trade professionals in South Africa will attest to, due to the archaic structure of our liquor licensing and liquor import regulations that force spirits to be imported at a minimum of 43% ABV, limits the number of brands and spirit categories that are available in SA.
The poor rand dollar exchange rate, furthermore stunts the import of craft liquor categories – that we see striving globally – such as vermouth, amaro and even liqueurs that most international bars would deem as standard.
Endless optimism for Africa
Whilst the glass seems to be half empty from the outside, we see an opportunity to drive global drink innovation through using local products and ingredients and by creating, through the use of the latest high tech equipment available, our take on otherwise unattainable products. We seek to re-invent otherwise forgotten South African drinks through amalgamating classic cocktail methodology with a modern and fresh perspective.
Africa has an abundance of cultural difference, that in fact bring us together, and we use these cultural rituals in our drinks to communicate Africa’s undeniable ability to stay united and drive modernization without losing who we are – African.
The Mvulamlomo aka The ‘mouth-opener’ is a drink on our menu designed to explore the ancients ritual of Lobolo negotiations. This negotiation is customary in Africa whereby men, approach the family of their chosen loved one, to ask her parents for her hand in marriage. Men need to “pay” a fee for the privilege of marriage, often measured in cows.
These processes can often be long, tedious and complicated and often to ease and relax this intense concession, the soon to be groom offers a bottle of brandy or Mvulamlomo to sooth the tensions between the negotiating families. It’s the price the hopefully groom pays to be able to have this conversation.
At Mootee, instead of the traditional bottle of brandy, we offer a ‘mouth-opener’ of a different kind:
- Base of an aged Milktart distillate
- Prepared by vacuum distilling Nutella, vanilla, roasted cocoa bean and yoghurt and aging this result in coconut infused wooden staves.
- When selected as ready by our head of Mixology, Dom Walsh, the result is stirred this down with marula oil fatwashed rum, South African sherry and Malawian sucanat syrup.
- The drink is then spritzed with a cassia bark tincture
- It is served with raw liquorice bark as optional sweetening agent.
Forget what you know about Africa.