A Western Cape Food Tour: Examining Indigenous Foods in Eateries Through the Lived Experience Model


  • Hennie Fisher University of Pretoria
  • Prof Gerrie Du Rand University of Pretoria




Indigenous Foods, Food Tourism, South African Cuisine, Lived Experience, IPA (Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis)


Drawing attention to indigenous foods is economically advantageous for local communities growing plants to sell to the food industry, to promote food tourism and establishing alternative food systems characterised by lower costs, lessened environmental impact, and local availability. There is evidence that indigenous land stewardship could reinforce indigenous food sovereignty by recovering indigenous foods that could disappear. Although South African cuisine is not globally recognised as an ethnic cuisine, interest in it is growing, as its recent 52nd ranking (out of 100) on the TasteAtlas.com global cuisine rankings for 2023/2024 shows. Increasing understanding, availability, and celebration of indigenous foods in commercial eateries is therefore critical, along with an understanding of their sociocultural contextuality. Lived experience was the predominant guiding methodological model for this research. The researchers used qualitative phenomenological reporting to present their first-hand lived experiences, along with knowledge gained through meaning making of indigenous and heritage foods. Although this model has been criticised for methodology slurring, attention to academic rigour (in line with Husserl and Heidegger’s applied philosophical viewpoints) ensured that the knowledge gained was grounded in the researchers’ own experiences. The researchers report key insights and meaning making from their eating experiences and indigenous foods found during a food tour from 17 to 22 September 2023, along a predetermined road route within the Western Cape province of South Africa. This research contributes to the unique application of lived experience within the hospitality and tourism environments, and particularly the application of IPA (Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis) to assess participants’ ways of making meaning of indigenous food offerings found in eateries in detail.

Author Biography

Prof Gerrie Du Rand, University of Pretoria

Assossiate professor, Department of Consumer and Food Sciences, University of Pretoria