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  • Writer's picturesalifemag

Food that honours heritage in the heart of The Cradle of Humankind.

Celebrating Heritage Day is about celebrating family for the three men who run the kitchen at the Cradle Boutique Hotel. They say they are constantly in awe that they get to cook for other families in a setting where human history began, a place that is home to everyone’s heritage.

Executive chef Tyrow Power, executive sous chef Cyril Mpe, and pastry chef Thapelo Majafe work in a kitchen in the hotel that sits within 9 000 hectares of a spectacular nature reserve just outside of Johannesburg. This unique ecotourism destination is situated within a reserve that is home to two active paleoanthropological sites.

Said Durban-born Power: “We are very aware of our roots, of being in the heart of The Greater Cradle of Humankind. Here at the Cradle Boutique Hotel, we represent every South African – something we honour on Heritage Day. My team remembers that when we are creating food.”

The three share easy recipes for perfect Heritage Day meals to prepare for your loved ones.

Easy Pork Belly done in an air fryer (Tyrow Power)


1kg piece boneless pork belly, rind scored.

2 tsp sea salt flakes

Step 1

Preheat the air fryer to 200° C for 3 minutes

Pat pork dry with a paper towel

Rub salt into the pork rind

Step 2

Place the pork in the air fryer basket and spray with oil.

Set the timer for 25 minutes and cook until the rind crackles.

Reduce temperature to 180°F. Set the timer for 30 minutes and cook until the pork is tender and cooked through.

Baked Yoghurt (Thapelo Majafe)

Majafe, who hails from Rustenburg, says Heritage Day is special as he uses it to teach his children about their Tswana heritage. Of course, when he’s home, it’s a day of putting a modern twist on the traditional Tswana fare, Morogo (spinach) and the ancient African grain, Mabele (sorghum). Here he shares his recipe for one of his favourite desserts.


250ml yogurt, plain/full fat

250ml cream

250ml condensed milk

For flavour add

100ml honey or 150ml Amarula.

Mix, bake at a low temperature (100 degrees) for 40 minutes.

Couscous salad (Cyril Mpe)

Witbank born Cyril, was raised in a non-traditional Pedi family where his parents did not enforce traditions. He said he always cooks a family feast on Heritage Day. While there is always a big meat component – often a braai – he liked to provide his family with healthy vegetarian options. Tradition, Cyril believes, is excellent, but like his fellow chefs, when it comes to food, putting a modern twist on old recipes is the name of the game.

Here is a family favourite that he makes on Heritage Day:

Soak 250g couscous in half a litre of chicken stock (if you’re using stock cubes, use three cubes).

Add toasted sunflower seeds, chopped apricots, cranberries, coriander, parsley and crumbled feta. Dress with a classic Italian dressing.

Tip from Cyril: “When making an Italian dressing, most recipes call for dried herbs – dried basil, oregano, parsley etc. In my version, I like to use fresh herbs as it gives the salad a more aromatic punch.”

Every cent spent at the Cradle Boutique Hotel is poured back into conservation, education and the protection of the Malapa Motsetse Foundation. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Sunday. Bookings on +27 87 353 9599

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