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Indian South African woman teaches home skills

A South African Indian's mission to empower women has resulted in scores of people benefiting from special courses on home skills that she has arranged as part of the annual Lenasia Trade Fair.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2004 15:19 IST

A South African Indian's mission to empower women has resulted in scores of people benefiting from special courses on home skills that she has arranged as part of the annual Lenasia Trade Fair.

The courses at the fair ranged from flower arranging and chocolate making to aroma therapy and using avocados for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

"I love chocolates, I love flowers, and I love using cosmetics and decided to put this to some practical use which could benefit other women and teenagers as well. The most important thing is to share skills and expertise in food, decor and well-being," Saloojee told IANS.

Drawing in professional chefs and demonstrators, Saloojee found such demand for the sessions at the recently held fair that she is now considering running classes separately from the fair on a monthly basis throughout the year.

"It started out with the first trade fair when I thought not everyone coming there would want to do shopping at the stalls only, so we arranged the classes and workshops as well," said Saloojee, part of the largely Indian township of Lenasia, south of here.

Children were also introduced to art forms like decoupage by experts.

For the various participants, all of whom run their own schools or classes in their respective areas, the Lenasia event opened up new avenues.

One of the more fascinating talks was one by Mary-Anne Fanner, who related not only how the avocado plant would never bear fruit unless it had a mate but also shattered the myth that avocados are fattening fruits.

Avocados can also be used for cosmetics, she said.

"Out with olive oil, in with avocado oil, which can even be used on babies and in cooking," said Fanner.

Another course titled "Barbecue with Finesse" sought to teach people to do more with a braai (South African term for barbecue, very popular with local Indians) than just cooking sausages and chops on a fire.

"From the presentation to the settings and serving the food, we showed people how to do it with such finesse that their next braai is the one that guests will definitely want to come to," said Saloojee.

Marthie Glodek, who said she had done enough Hindu and Muslim weddings in her long career to know more about these cultures than even some Indians, showed how to arrange baskets of flowers from scratch, while cookbook author Faeeza Hajee demonstrated how to make some delectable desserts.

Agnes Mazibuko of the Prue Leith Kitchen was fascinated to discover that there was a halaal variant of gelatine, usually made from animal products, that could be used in Muslim kitchens.

First Published: Jan 07, 2004 15:19 IST