10 Questions For: Fatima Sydow

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10 Questions For: Fatima Sydow

Meet the Mother City’s beloved cooking heroine and author of The Journey of Cape Malay Cooking. We’ve heard her mince curry is to die for!

1.  How would you describe what you do for a living? 
I’m a cook and former caterer and now a self-published cookbook author, but my first love is people – my community, my city and my beloved country. I use my cooking to bring people together. Food is great, but it’s even better when accompanied by a story. The story always comes from the heart, filled with nostalgia. I follow that feeling and spread it through my cooking.

2.  What is your most vivid childhood memory?

It will have to be in the kitchen with my late Mom. I was very young and it was a great way to bond and create beautiful memories. The very first time she showed me how to make curry and roti...I will never forget how all my senses came alive.  I’ll always remember how she lovingly guided me through all the steps.

3.  If you could invite any three people, dead or alive, for dinner, who would they be and why?

1. Celine Dion – I'm a big fan and love how she is such a great inspiration to all. I would love to just listen to her story while I'm serving her the delicious food I cooked.
2. Nelson Mandela – Even though I met him and sang a song for him with my classmates in 1994, I never got the chance to sit and talk with him.  I’ll tell him that I’ll never give up on our nation; that there are people on the ground fighting for a better South Africa every day, and we’ll not stop.
3. Amanda Strydom – We’ve become great friends on Facebook but have yet to meet.  It will be a great honour to be in her company, she is one amazing lady!

4. If you ever found yourself auditioning for a music reality TV show, what song would you sing and why?
I would sing ‘One Moment In Time’ by Whitney Houston. It aptly describes my journey where I'm more than I thought I could be. It’s inspirational and uplifting.

5.  How would you complete this sentence? The South African cabinet should include a Minister of______________________.
Job Creation.

6.  What would you say is the biggest misconception about you?
That I only cook Cape Malay food. People are shocked when they hear that I’m crazy about hip-hop too and can do a Public Enemy rap without skipping a beat.

7.  What is your (honest) opinion of Cape Town? 
Cape Town to me is like an everyday person you pass by at the bus stop, when given a chance to get to know the person you realise that there are so many layers to them. It’s just like our city; it’s not perfect and has endured many struggles and tragedies and celebrated many triumphs. Everyday she wakes us up with her beautiful mountain and breathtaking ocean views, yet at the same time you can hear her uneasy heart wrecked with unrest. She is complicatedly beautiful, but she’ll always be our city.  And we love her.

8.  What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
The opinions of others, which creates anxiety and self-doubt. I know now that the opinion of others is their perception of me and not mine. I don't need to own them; it’s a very freeing feeling.

9.   What's the one thing you'd like to achieve before you die? 
There are so many – I have four. I want to build an animal shelter, an orphanage, a centre for the abused and a drug rehabilitation centre. I dream about this every night. 

10.  Which well- known South African personality would you , without a doubt, be able to beat in a street fight and why?   
No-one. I am a lover, not a fighter.


ABOUT #CapeTownMag10Q:’s 10 Questions project gets to know some of the Mother City’s most creative and inspiring people. From television personalities and musicians to politicians and entrepreneurs, we find out more about well-known and up-and-coming Capetonians. You can follow #CapeTownMag10Q on Twitter and Facebook to track recent interviews or read more here about our other awesome 10 Questions candidates


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