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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: South Africa

Aired November 9, 2013 - 21:00   ET


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: They don't look friendly. Who are those -- anyway. Some ugly Dutch guys it looks like with guns. I'm guessing particularly friendly to the current power. They look like they're going to or coming from oppressing a black man. First order of business, man. When I take my country back, first order of business is to take that -- down. Am I right or what? I'm kind of amazed. Tear that (INAUDIBLE) down.


BOURDAIN: In July 2013, when I went to South Africa, 95-year-old Nelson Mandela was critically ill. And the country he freed from white minority rule was already in mourning. And already fearful of what the future might be without him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really, really sad because the world still needs him. He's the guy who fought for our freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pray that he -- somebody takes the baton from him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish him a speedy recovery. And come back to his people.

BOURDAIN: So a good friend of mine, a really great travel writer, said something. The more I travel the less I know. I feel that particularly strongly here in South Africa, a place I came in a state of near total ignorance, loaded with preconceptions.

For the first part of my life, the South Africa I knew was not a happy place or a good place. It was a pariah state. Surrealistically, outrageously divided into black and white. A throwback to attitudes we thought we'd long learned to reject.

The nationalist government in South Africa enacted apartheid laws in 1948. Who you could marry. Where you lived. Where you could walk, be educated. Everything decided by racist laws backed by police, army and secret services. The institutionalized racial discrimination was designed to maintain white minority power and economically suppress the black and mixed race South Africans who lived in townships, mostly in poverty.

In 1923, the African National Congress was born. By 1961, it had been radicalized by the influence of a young Nelson Mandela, among others, and formed an armed wing called the Spear of the Nation.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you see Africans being able to develop in this country without the Europeans being pushed out?

NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: We have made it very clear in our policy that South Africa is a country of many races. There is room for all the various races.

BOURDAIN: In 1963, Mandela was charged with sabotage and conspiracy and sentenced to life imprisonment on Robin Island. It would take another 27 years of violence and injustice before the inevitable would happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe in apartheid?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that according to God's will that the white race should be preserved.

BOURDAIN: South Africa's white minority under international sanctions, internal political pressure and the decline of the communist threat, Mandela was we released from prison in 1990. In '94, he was elected president of the new, free South Africa.

There have been very few figures in the entire history of the world as revered or as important as Nelson Mandela. But the question is, what happens next?

Johannesburg or Joe burg or Josie. The largest city by population in South Africa. And the economic powerhouse of the country. Southwest of Johannesburg, Soweto. Originally an acronym for southwestern townships. Now the area is considered a suburb.

In 2010, South Africa played host to the World Cup. The BLK JKS who played for the opening celebration are a Soweto based band. They are also, not surprisingly, soccer fans.

We're here on game day. A grudge match in a country where soccer approaches religion. You can feel it in Soweto or rather you can see it as everywhere you look people show their love for either the local Orlando Pirates or the Johannesburg Kaiser Chiefs.

Mawilies Inn. A typical local joint in Soweto. The perfect place to watch a game, talk about a game, drink yourself silly over the results of a game, or just have a very fine local style meal. It is, however, a little hard to find.

There are a lot of places like this? I mean, this used to be the garage or the carport, right?


BOURDAIN: In what was once a garage are now six tables. A lawn turned lounge out back. Closed on Sundays if grandma's visiting. These kinds of bars were born during apartheid times when black South Africans not allowed to own businesses in white areas adapted and improvised. They did their own thing. Created these little micro, under the official radar restaurants known around here as eat houses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back in the days, obviously, it was illegal. BOURDAIN: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During apartheid. So they will have meetings to actually plan what they're going to do.

BOURDAIN: Right. So this would be considered a hotbed of sedition and --


BOURDAIN: Now it's just a hot bed of drinking and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Different kind of sedition.


BOURDAIN: Mpumi and Tshepang from the BLK JKS have just finished watching the game when I join them for some food.

Generally speaking, are these good times in South Africa? Bad times? Transitional times?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, 1994 was the peak of the good time in South Africa. Then now with the other politics, you know, other parties fighting, it's quite tense right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not like it was before where everybody's -- you know, it's black and white. Literally.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, like, we're unified on this and they're unified on that.

BOURDAIN: These days, the party that freed the country from white rule, the ANC, is not universally loved anymore. In recent years they've been criticized for inaction, corruption and cronyism. And opposition parties are gaining strength.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything that's maybe new to us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think we're trying to navigate new reality. Like how do you deal with so many opinions? You know, the party that you loved the whole time, that brought about this freedom, is fumbling the ball. So what do you do?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because in democracy, you should act.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's the smileys for snack.

BOURDAIN: Smileys. Fire roasted sheep's head. Lips shriveled back in a joker like rectus of deliciousness. Chopped into tasty, tasty bits and eaten with cold beer? Yes, of course, yes. Just needs a little salt and pepper.

Good stuff. That looks good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This is pap.

BOURDAIN: What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like maize.

BOURDAIN: Pap or meal pap. A sticky porridge made from ground corn meal. It fills the role that grits do in the American south. Rice in much of Asia. It's tasty, relatively nutritious and cheap filler. And it sops up gravy when you have something like this stewed beef real good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's traditional dumpling.

BOURDAIN: That's a dumpling?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Not really like other dumplings.

BOURDAIN: Dumplings. Important throughout the African Diaspora. Made with flour and yeast. A spongy, bread type tool for mop-it-up sauce. Stewed greens, carrots, beans and more gravy.

Wow. That's awesome. So tell me about your band. How long have you guys been together?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 10 years now.

BOURDAIN: Whoa. A long time.



BOURDAIN: Would you say you were an indie band?


BOURDAIN: Is there an indie theme -- what I guess I'm getting at, is there a -- is there a -- I was kind of getting there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of South African street culture, people are really pushing the boundaries now. We didn't really have a theme when we started. You look around. It's like, man, like demographic is crazy.

BOURDAIN: What do you mean by that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not just racial, but classes, you know. And people are being pushed and then pulled. It's like an aspirational culture.

BOURDAIN: What do you think that means? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole rainbow nation notion was quite romantic and ridiculous. You know, like racism is not on a piece of paper. Just because we voted it out doesn't mean people stop being racist. It's ridiculous in that sense. But we've lived something else for 20 years. People want it. It's no longer like a coffee table idea.


SANZA SANDILE, SOUTH AFRICAN CHEF: Respect money maker. One love, man.

BOURDAIN: This is Sanza Sandile. Pioneer of sorts. He's taken a traditional cook shop space in the Yoville neighborhood of Johannesburg and done something different. Yoville is a neighborhood where just about everybody comes from somewhere else.

SANDILE: I came here around 10 years ago from Soweto. Up in Soweto. And when we heard about the bells of change, we all ran to the central part of the city.

BOURDAIN: With the end of apartheid and the emergence of Mandela as not just an inspirational figure but the beginning of real and compassionate black African government, South Africa became a beacon and a refuge for millions of Africans from all over the continent.

Black South Africans fought hard for their freedom and their country. As I understand a lot of them are pretty pissed off about hey, we're just getting our (EXPLETIVE DELETED) together and whoa, all these Congolese and Nigerians, well, you know, they're coming here.

SANDILE: Of course there's going to be that.


SANDILE: Giving and taking, you know. And then people have been saying, Mandela is going to die, we want to keep all these people away.


SANDILE: You know, that's not what our people are all about. And then now that's when I took, you know, the tour of food because that first way to engage.

BOURDAIN: Sanza has no formal culinary training. He's completely self-taught. Picking up bits and pieces where he can. Often from the women in the neighborhood.

So you're plucking the best of everybody's culinary culture.

SANDILE: Every day. Every day I learn. What are you eating? Where you from? I've been taught by some men. That's not how it's cooked at home, you know?

BOURDAIN: Right. SANDILE: Go to that auntie. To the back of some dingy club. There's a small kitchen. Look, there, it'll be nice. Hey, auntie, you know, and then that's me. Hey, auntie, you know, I'm really keen on how you make your particular sauce.

BOURDAIN: They'll show you?

SANDILE: They show me stuff. I pick up. Then I rush back to the shop and I try it out. So I've got all the elements.

BOURDAIN: At his cook shop he mixes recipes, ingredients, techniques and traditions as he sees fit. One reviewer described his style as gastronomic smuggling. Moving people across borders with dishes that slightly partake of elsewhere. On today's menu it --

SANDILE: I made this for you. This is egusi and beef at traditional Nigerian dish.


SANDILE: They usually use cow leg.

BOURDAIN: Beef stewed with melon and pumpkin seeds. There's futu. The ubiquitous cornmeal porridge but made to a texture more crumbly than pap.

SANDILE: This is Basamati rice with rose water. It's aubergines and mangoes. They're pickled. And this is with cassava in it from the Congolese.

BOURDAIN: Like (INAUDIBLE) with cassava.

SANDILE: Cassava. This is (INAUDIBLE).

BOURDAIN: Right. Good taste. Oh, yes. Awesome. Good food here. Menu change every day?

SANDILE: That's our idea.

BOURDAIN: You're doing a lot of great food in a small space.

There were no seats. His customers remain part of the constantly unfolding street theater of Yoville. They mingle, talk, observe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lots of people, lots of stories pass through here. Lots of culture interaction. Because everybody's got something interesting to say as far as we're concerned.

SANDILE: Because food, I knew food is a way to engage. Got to put something in your mouth to get your ears open, you know.

BOURDAIN: Across town, another pioneer of sorts. An urban settler in a very different neighborhood. This is Hillbrow. A notoriously dangerous district. And this is Deejay Lez.

DEEJAY LEZ, MUSICIAN: When I came here, I always dreamed of being a musician. I see myself singing in front of huge crowds, you know, making money in the process. That's what I dreamt about.

BOURDAIN: He spins records and promotes acts and events in nightclubs. We meet in his favorite spot. Sympathy's Restaurant.

What's good? What do you like? That looks good. Is that fried chicken?

DEEJAY LEZ: I love -- that's the fried chicken.

BOURDAIN: The place is heavy with the smell of frying chicken, stewing greens. Walk right up. Place your order. And be sure to get some mill pap. Heaped on a plate with beats and coleslaw that's a nice, heavy base.

So tell me about the neighborhood.

DEEJAY LEZ: When I first came, it was rough, my friend.

BOURDAIN: Before '92, it was like white business district? Residential district?

DEEJAY LEZ: Back then, it used to be clean. Used to be respected.

BOURDAIN: Once Hillbrow was an elite whites-only center of town. But when things started to change, so did Hillbrow. Becoming one of the first gray areas where whites and blacks mixed. Hillbrow became aspirational. A symbol of everything black Africans had long been denied. But was now accessible. People poured in in large numbers. Many of them squatters from all over the continent.

DEEJAY LEZ: People come here, they come here with one intention. Making a living. Making money. Started coming here.

BOURDAIN: White landlords and tenants simply walked away from their property. The disenfranchised who moved in legally, semilegally, illegally or just squatting, an influx of gangs and criminal organizations, the area soon slipped into anarchy.

DEEJAY LEZ: There's a saying around here. OK? That this building's been hijacked.

BOURDAIN: Entire building were seized to become super stores for illicit drug operations. Everything that could go wrong, did.

DEEJAY LEZ: People make a living from different things. Some day (INAUDIBLE) people to make a living. Some they sell their bodies. Sometimes things aren't always according to what you plan.

This is where I live. This is where my life is. I'll show you.

BOURDAIN: We walk down the street and one of the many enterprises doing business on corners and in doorways around us becomes alarmed at the sight of our cameras. Soon there's a mob of very angry people coming our way. We do not turn around our cameras for obvious reasons. These days things are slowly, slowly improving.

DEEJAY LEZ: But before, we wouldn't walk this freely. Now we are free.

BOURDAIN: There's actual law enforcement going on in fits and starts. And that's making a difference. Black owned legitimate businesses have gained a real foothold. There are new revitalization projects like farmer's markets springing up. Buildings are being reclaimed. And people here hope that Hillbrow is past the bad old days.

DEEJAY LEZ: There's no fear now. You have to relax. To work.


BOURDAIN: What's in a name? If the name is Soweto, you best believe it means plenty.

This is Madu. For over a decade he's been in what has at times been the very difficult business of driving a taxi. You should probably know that the word taxi in Soweto means something a little different than, say, New York.

MADU, TAXI DRIVER: Sixty percent of the population is using taxi.

BOURDAIN: How many taxis in Johannesburg?

MADU: I would say more than a million.

BOURDAIN: This coming from a potential passenger means Soweto. Also this and this. Johannesburg has an elaborate system of hand signals indicating desired routes of travel.

So you're looking at the hand signals and said, OK, I'm not going there, I'm not going there.

MADU: I'm looking at the hand signals.

BOURDAIN: In 1994 Soweto came into being as a less benign version of the housing project. It was designed as workers lodging. A place to put black laborers comfortably removed from white society. A ghetto. By the 1950s it had become the center of resistance to white rule. Synonymous with the struggle against the whole rotten racist system.

MADU: I remember one day the situation was so bad in such a way that my mother had to put me inside a box where we put shoes and hide me there, under the bed.

This is where I grew up, most of the time. And sometimes you would get bullied. There was this time two guys were following me. They lifted me up and I had probably some few coing in my pocket and just turned me around. Just to shake me.

BOURDAIN: Shake you upside down?

MADU: Shake me upside down. I will never forget that moment in my life. I felt stupid, you know?

Get on, get on, Ma.


MADU: Hello.

BOURDAIN: Now there is a definite cache to living in Soweto. A very real pride back at having been at the very center of things back when it was hard and dangerous to have an opinion. Nelson Mandela lived here. Desmond Tutu. When you're a certain age and you say you were born and bred in Soweto, it means something.

Do mostly people own their homes or do they rent?

MADU: Mostly people own their homes.

BOURDAIN: They start to make a little more money, things starts get a little better. Can you build up?

MADU: Yes. You can build up.

BOURDAIN: Look at the streets here and you see what that kind of pride does. It may not be a rich area, but it's immaculate. Squared away. An emerging middle class coming up, rather than fleeing to elsewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, have a nice day. Thank you.

MADU: Those ladies over here, you can see they're marketing for their stalls.

BOURDAIN: You know where you're going, right?

MADU: Yes. I know where I'm going.

BOURDAIN: Next exit? Smoky delicious meat over flame. Under the overpass, all sorts of mystery meats for sale. The taxi man's lunch. We order some brisket, some sausage, some heart. Beautiful thing. Meat, a cutting board, a knife.

MADU: Cut out the meat in pieces. That's how you eat it. Most of the time they serve it with tomato and raw chile. That's more or less a salad for you. You have salt over here. It's nice.

BOURDAIN: You chose well. These guys are good.

(voice-over): Here, spread over thousands of square feet, the remnants of white colonial rule, what's left from the descendants of Bible-thumping Dutch settlers who came here to farm, to ranch, to build their own world on top of an existing one.

The Boers, as they were known, came in the 1600s. If nothing else can be said about them, they were a tough bunch of bastards. In the 1800s, the British came. Diamonds were discovered. Greed heads jockeyed for power. There was war, and an ugly one.

In the end, there was an uneasy shares of power. The Boers been known as Afrikaners. In the 20th century, racist Afrikaners ideology grew. Apartheid laws were enacted, and white domination became the rule for almost 100 years.

But look, meat. You want to see an expat South African weep, wave some of this under their nose.

(on camera): It's like a Mussolini themed restaurant?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That's it. That's it. Neo-fascist butchery.

BOURDAIN: In the good old days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't look like any butcher I've been into.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): An hour north by northwest to Johannesburg is Pretoria. Still the administrative center of South Africa, once the heart of apartheid. Here you can find a father/son butchery, restaurant and themed museum. I just don't know how I feel about this place. It doesn't fit in with my white liberal guilt sensibility.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With all of this kind of Africana paraphernalia and it just wouldn't be accepted. Couldn't exist.

BOURDAIN: As any South African butcher would, they sell (INAUDIBLE). They sprinkle salt, brown sugar, more vinegar. Pack in layers, repeat.

After 24 hours, remove and hang to air dry for a week. Voila. A tasty jerky treat we can all get behind.

Chef Andrea Burgener (ph) South African by birth, English and German by background, can usually be found in the trenches of her Joburg restaurant, the Leopard. She's known for her playful menus but loathes culinary fashion. She strives for a locally grounded cuisine.

Today, however, she's my guide through this twilight zone.

It's weird here. And though I'm told the place usually reflects the changing demographic of modern South Africa, today, not so much. The customers may or may not have feelings about the Afrikaner memorabilia. Really they just come for meat.

Pick your meat at the butcher counter, choose T-bone, some rum steak. Spicy sausage made from beef and pork.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our secret ingredient is monkey gland sauce.

BOURDAIN (on camera): Monkey gland sauce.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every steak house has monkey gland sauce. It's barbecue sauce.

BOURDAIN: They cook it up along with some pap and fries and presto, a colon clogging pile of meat in the ruins of empire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I mean, meat is a very big thing. There's enough of it, I think. BOURDAIN: Good Lord. I can swim in it.

(voice-over): Tastes like oppression.

(on camera): After this show airs, I'm going to get a huge amount of mail saying why didn't you go to Cape Town, great modern restaurants, cutting edge chefs. Is it all right I missed all that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like those particular restaurants in Cape Town are not really representative of what most people in this country are eating. I think a lot of our most basic stuff is really what we do best. This food is absolutely got no interest in fashion. It's never going to change. There'll still be the monkey gland sauce and (INAUDIBLE).

BOURDAIN: You think the white chefs here understand the greatest advantage they have is that this enormous pan African larder of ingredients and flavors?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. If you're a whitey in the city, you're probably going to eat the worst food of anyone in the city, quite honestly. In every country, obviously food is political. It always feels like it's a bit more political here, that there are these layers of things that you couldn't have.

Like restaurants, I mean, I go to restaurants. I think to myself, wow, this many years ago, I couldn't have come here with this person. They were not allowed to sit in here. And I remember very clearly being around 8.

The cafe owner would regularly not pay the customer who was black with change. He would pay him with bubble gum. And the guy somehow, he couldn't argue. If you were a black guy, you got your change in bubble gum. I was 8 years old feeling like, oh, my God, it was so terrible. But you couldn't say anything, because that would have been worse.

So, it was a weird thing of (INAUDIBLE), so un-innocent and represented such badness. It just seems mad.




BOURDAIN (voice-over): This is an eland, the largest antelope in the world. It is also, unluckily for him, delicious.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that was very good.

BOURDAIN (on camera): It's a little sad. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what? That is such good meat. That's really what we do.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Though this one weighs in around a ton, rest assured, every bite, every scrap, will be eaten. Some of that, tonight at dinner.

Chef Andrea Burgener, Dionne (ph), a local hunting expert, and myself join Prospero Bailey on his game farm. Prospero's dad Jim Bailey was the legendary publisher of the sly subversive "Drum" magazine, the first of its kind during apartheid. A black oriented investigative magazine slickly disguised as glossy pop culture.

Prospera's farm is mere 20 miles from Johannesburg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the city there?

BOURDAIN (on camera): Yes. To have all this in sight of the city.

(voice-over): Near Prospero's farm and hidden within the city's shadow is what's known as the Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO world heritage site. An incredible look back at where we, the human animal, came from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a classic little sink hole. There are loads of these. This is what this area is. I mean, the Cradle. It's called a Cradle. Now, a world heritage site, because 60 percent of all the evidence for human evolution comes out of the valley. It's from caves like this that keep the record. That geology just conspires to preserve fossils.

They're very, very rare things, humanoid fossils. But they're found more here in the last ten years than they're found anywhere. So you're home. This is where you started.

BOURDAIN (on camera): This is my ancestral homeland?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your ancestral homeland.

BOURDAIN: That sound makes me happy. What does that sound remind you of, guys? What does that evoke for you, that sound? Primeval, you know, happy childhood to the beach, meet sibling over the fire, parental love, your enemy's genitals frying in hot oil? Nothing? No?

(voice-over): Downright, fire and fresh killed eland, I get to work on the heart. Something I strongly suspect will be delicious. And I'm right.

Andrea works her magic on the liver. Dredged in flour and sauteed. This loin seared and glazed with booze. There's eland paprika (ph). A riff on the Hungarian stew with paprika, peppers, onion, tomatoes and cream.

As the sunsets over the belt, Johannesburg lights blinking in the distance, a feast.

(on camera): Meat on the plate. Blood on my pants. Life is good.

I've been very, very, very confused by my visit here. You've got basically a goulash here. it tell you it inflicted liver on here (ph). The bread someone referred to as Portuguese?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Portuguese but it's from Madera. That bread, flat bread.

BOURDAIN: South Africa depending on who I talk to is a completely different construct. So some people someone who comes from South African, from anywhere else in Africa and brings good stuff with them. Other stuff from Malaysia, East Indies, Dutch, there's the English influence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were so many different colonialists.

BOURDAIN: One at this table is originally African and does that have a meaning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wood is pine.

BOURDAIN: I arrived in this country spectacularly ignorant. I will leave spectacularly ignorant.




BOURDAIN (voice-over): Ramadan. At this hour, all over Johannesburg, members of South Africa's sizable Muslim community observe. The religion of Islam as well as many of south Africa's most beloved and most delicious dishes and ingredients like sambal (ph), chutney (ph) and bunny chow (ph) come from Malaysia, Indonesia, India.

During apartheid, many South Africans would have been referred to as colored. Colored didn't mean black. It meant everybody else who wasn't exactly white, Asians and mixed race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's garlic, ginger and chilies.

BOURDAIN: In the observatory neighborhood of Johannesburg, the Rasdian (ph) family prepares for the meal at sundown when fasting for Ramadan is broken.

Joey Rasdian is a standup comedian, an actor of cape Malay background. This dish, panang curry with beef and eggs. Joey's wife, Cindy, prepares a chicken pie. Son, Hakeem, makes the traditional Ramadan shake.

Daughter, Laya (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can cook. BOURDAIN: (on camera): Everything smells terrific.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's nicer to have soup after you've not eaten the whole day. It's light and nourishing and filling and all of those good things.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): There's also cheese and beef samosas.

(on camera): These are delicious. You were born here. Born in Johannesburg?


BOURDAIN: So how are things?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It depends on what you are speaking about.

BOURDAIN: Society operates the way society should. But on the other hand, many ways this is a new country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is. It's 19 years old.

BOURDAIN: Everybody is from someplace else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the Africans from the other countries see south Africa as a place of hope. Because if there's a lot here, then there are a lot of opportunities, lots of people might get from here. A long time, 3 million Germans come in here, 3 million French people coming here. Africans would corm from far place to come and find a little bit of something here.

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: So, how do you find South Africa so far?

BOURDAIN: I like it. I'm very comfortable here. I like a country where people have a sense of humor. There's a lot of ball busting doing on here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the time, from the top to the bottom.

BOURDAIN: Twenty years from you, what's South Africa going to be like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their generation, the born frees now is the ones that's giving our current president lots of hell. The born frees is the one that was born in the new democracy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or just before the first election.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The born frees are like, look here, we went to school. This is right and this is wrong. What you're doing is wrong.

But we're at a struggle. Yes, we weren't part of the struggle. I don't care. Thank you for the struggle. I've got Twitter now.

BOURDAIN: I want five bars on my 3G, I want Wi-Fi, and it better be high speed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why can't I have them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why can't I have them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think the current politicians foresaw that. Foresaw the born frees not supporting them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a critical mass of young people that wants to change South Africa in a positive way. How they do it or how they go about it, I don't know the answer to that. Neither do they know the answer to that. But their intention is clear.




BOURDAIN (voice-over): No more hipster jokes. It's low hanging fruit. And one can no longer argue against the steady creek of their foodie sensibilities. Artisanal cheeses, yes, right over there. Hand made charcuterie? Yes, there. Thin crust pizza, a very respectable piayya, yes, yes, and yes.

It's official. They're here and they aren't going anywhere.

(on camera): I like the idea of a burger for breakfast or is there something perverse about that.

(voice-over): Throw in a crowd of much more racially diverse and hungry people, and you might think you're in Brooklyn.

Surely, this is not a bad thing. This is neighbor goods market in Bram Fontaine (ph) precinct of Johannesburg.

My dining companion, city press arts and features writer Percy Mumbando (ph) says we should hold out for this, the Balkan burger.

(on camera): One with cheese for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lots of cheese.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) flattened ground beef seared over flames.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cook the food right.

BOURDAIN: Add cascabel and mozzarella cheese, fold it up, pick your condiments, you've got cabbage, tomato, onion, lettuce, hot peppers.

Up to the roof with a view and eat.

(on camera): Spicy. Good.

I guess I want to talk about Nelson Mandela. Because what I was not aware of at all was the degree to which he was personally responsible for really the nuts and bolts of the transition from white rule to majority rule.


BOURDAIN: Now, he's very ill.


BOURDAIN: What happens after Mandela, do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We go on. I think the foundation is laid, and I think through God we have him as a symbol. I think Mandela represents our collective better intention as a nation. The test we use to check the way forth.

BOURDAIN: All the things that could have gone terribly wrong, it's a remarkable thing how well it went.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 1990 and 1994, tough times, you know, into the city fighting, black-on-black violence, black-on-white violence. Are we going to descend into a blood bath?

But we transcended that through the message of coming together regardless of the unresolved issues.

BOURDAIN: To what extent is it really an issue? Are things getting mixed? We like to think we live in a rainbow nation, but in fact, in the states like to a great extent in different neighborhoods. Only in 19 years, in some ways it looks to me outside looking in, a little more gracefully mixed up than we've managed in the States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here you've got black, white, colored, all sorts of people here. But I think, I also say this also, once you have the knowledge that the economic disparities are managing to keep us divided as well.

I think what we need to do is unpack what we mean by rainbow. I think of being united in our diversity also means that there'll be moments of discord.

BOURDAIN: Do you think things will continue to improve?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think we've seen our worst. And that's not to say that we're getting it right all the time. But it's an experiment of democracy, an experiment you need to find as you go along.

That's really the South African story. The dream is there. We all agree that the visions are there. But these are not bigger than our hopes.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): What did I know about South Africa before I game here? Exactly nothing, as it turns out. But I think based on what I've seen, that if the world can get it right here, a country with a past like South Africa's, if they can figure out how to make it work here for everybody. Absorb all the people flooding in from all over Africa, continue to make Mandela's dream a reality, maybe there's hope for the rest of us.