The map clearly said Deering Estate on Biscayne Bay in Miami, but the ambiance of drums beating, wild animals roaring, wine glasses clinking, cheers of “Akubekhule!” and smells of braii on the barbecue meant only one thing — South Africa had come to south Miami-Dade.’
“Akubekhule! A Culinary Safari Through South Africa,” the Deering Estate Foundation’s annual Wine on Harvest Moon celebration, drew hundreds of party-goers on Saturday, Oct. 15, to sample the distinct flavors of South African food, wine, art and culture, which were spread throughout the moonlit grounds of the historic property.
“The transformation of the Deering Estate to the excitement and beauty of South Africa was absolutely incredible,” said event chair Howard Tendrich. “Everywhere you turned was another vignette, or a piece of South African history, or even a safari guide leading the way to a different scene filled with classical music or African drumming. It was remarkable.”
First stop after the first pour: the vibrant colors of Cape Town in the courtyard, then on to Wine Country and safari on the front lawn of the estate, where plates were starting to fill up with South African Lamb Potjie, Grilled Braii Beef Skewers, Red Wine Braised Rib Cup, South African Barbeque Chicken & Slaw, Ceviche, and Lobster Mac & Cheese, among other delectable fare too numerous to mention.
Celebrity Cruises was the evening’s Culinary Arts Sponsor.
Adding to the excitement of the night was an appearance by a live cheetah, Koda, who majestically rested by the side of Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill while he explained the ongoing struggle for their survival in the wild. Koda is one of two male cubs who serve as ambassadors for the zoo’s Cheetah Ambassador Program.
Guests had plenty of practice saying “Akubekhule,” which means “cheers” in Zulu, one of the country’s 11 national languages. The South African wines in the spotlight, selected by sommelier Veronica Litton, of Crown Wine, Spirits & Gourmet, hailed from different wine growing towns and regions: Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paal, Hemel-en-Aarde and Constantia. They included bottles of Stark-Condé Cabernet Sauvignon, Chamonix Red and Chamonix Chardonnay, Constantia Glenn Sauvignon Blanc, Southern Right Pinotage, Mulderbosch Rose of Cabernet, and M.A.N.
The cultural arts of South Africa were front and center through “Eleven Voices,” the concurrent art exhibit that references the 11 official languages of South Africa. Co-curators Kim Yantis of the Deering Estate and Rosie Gordon-Wallace, founder and curator of Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, selected works that reflect thematic inspirations from South African art and culture.
The goal of the exhibit, on view through Nov. 26, is to spark a discussion about cultural struggle, memory and identity among contemporary artists. Land Rover South Dade was the evening’s Visual Arts Sponsor and Coconut Grove Bank was the Cultural Arts Sponsor.
Golfer Wayne Gary Player, co-creator of The Disney Institute Golf Experience, co-host of the Golf Channel’s On the Range and son of world champion golfer, South African Gary Player, served as the live auction master of ceremonies.