Cape Town Beans

A short Documentary

By Shameelah Khan


For as long as I have known celebrations and food in my family, I have known Cape Town Beans. A dish that was adapted from a Sugar Bean dish in the Cape, my great grandmother adapted it and made her own mixture and passed it down to her children and my grandmother then passed it to her children. I find that I am now at a crossroads of memory and inheritance in conversation with each other. I am not a lover of cooking and I never have been. I am, however, a lover of documenting memory. For me, the experience of my Granny’s food has never been about the recipe, not really, for me, it has been around the storytelling. This is what I inherit and this is what I wanted to express with this documentary. Memory is blurry, unsettling, raw, uneasy and it eats at us in different ways. This piece is for my grandmother, and all the love we have created in her home over the years through food, music and afternoon tea and cake.