• Leanne de Bassompierre

Dinner at the Jordaan's


On the BRICS road for 10 days, packing up in Nieu Bethesda and heading to Port Elizabeth, I receive a WhatsApp from a friend in Johannesburg saying she had a dinner invitation for me at our next stop.

The chicken potjie we'd had at The Karoo Lamb the night before was divine and as close to home-cooking as you can get, but the prospect of dinner at her "PE mom's home" would be a welcome treat.

Indeed.

The fact that it was a window into the home of Nelson Mandela Bay's former first couple was even more special.

When we arrive, Roxane Jordaan, a pastor and wife to soccer boss and former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor, Danny Jordaan greets us warmly with a touching sense of familiarity. Along with us, is a surprise guest for her: Sandi, one of my mother's best friends, whom we will be staying over the next few days.

Roxane lets out a shriek of delight when she sees him, but shyly tucks her hair behind her ears after they embrace. He's also her hairdresser and due to a busy schedule, she seemingly hasn't been in a while.

The boys are already bowled over when they enter the dining area through the open style kitchen and are greeted by the reassuring smell of roast chicken, just out of the oven.

We are offered a glass of Rupert & Rothschild's Classique while greeting Danny and being introduced to friends and their teenage children.

It has barely been a month since Danny's defeat in the Local Government Elections, so I steer clear of politics (and the politics of sport) for the moment.

Roxane and Danny travel often. for both work and leisure, but it is their stories of travelling the length and breadth of the country in the volatile early 80s that has Guillaume and I most intrigued.

They animatedly regale us with tales of being stopped at a roadblock the weekend after the United Democratic Front (UDF) was launched. With their first born asleep in Roxane's arms, they are waved through, having pulled the wool over the Apartheid security polices eyes.

Further along that Sunday night they see the blinding light of what they'd assumed was another roadblock, further commenting that the security police never seemed to get any sleep. With a boot filled with politically compromising pamphlets they fear their luck will run out and decide to dump the leaflets along the side of the road, never turning off the car's ignition or stopping so as not to draw any suspicions.

They arrive at the "roadblock" only to find it was the blinding light of a local farmer trying to herd his livestock.

It was also refreshing to hear his experience of life in Nelson Mandela's cabinet, which he served in from 1994-1997 and the fascinating anecdotes from a trip to China, in particular, that he took during this period.

Danny has us in stitches, while Roxane lays out dessert. The boys can't believe their luck with the strawberries and Belgian Chocolate ice-cream on offer.

The night ends with the very pressing matter of Pick 'n Pay's animal card promotion that ends the next day and our six-year-old still missing nine cards to complete his collection.

I have some supplies to buy the next day, but Roxane agrees for me to do some grocery shopping for her too, so as to secure more cards and hopefully the ones in question.

We're in luck the next day and Guy gets five of the nine cards he needs. 4, 27, 51 and 62 are still outstanding, but a message from his grandmother to the family WhatsApp group ensures they are located within the family.

Great advertising for WhatsApp, but also illustrating the wonderful use of social media actually connecting people (in real life).

#PortElizabeth #EasternCape #DannyJordaan #RoxaneJordaan #China

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© by Leanne & Guillaume de Bassompierre.