Renowned chef and food writer Dorah Sitole has died of 'Covid complications'

The government's official Twitter account confirmed her passing on Monday afternoon

04 January 2021 - 14:38
By naledi shange AND Naledi Shange
Chef and food writer Dorah Sitole has died.
Image: Roelene Prinsloo Chef and food writer Dorah Sitole has died.

Renowned chef, food writer and editor Dorah Sitole has died.

The government's official Twitter account confirmed her passing on Monday afternoon. The 67-year-old died on Sunday at a Johannesburg hospital.

Sithole, who previously served as food editor for TRUE LOVE magazine, passed on just weeks after releasing her latest cookbook 40 Years of Iconic Food, which embraces African cuisine.

Sitole, who had more than 40 years' experience in the food industry, made a name for herself as the country’s first black food writer.

Sitole's publisher confirmed that the author and editor died of “Covid complications”.

Eloise Wessels, CEO of NB Publishers, said: “Dorah Sitole was not only an icon of the South African culinary landscape but was a pioneer in popularising traditional and contemporary African cooking and cuisine in a broader context; she was also a lovely, kind and deeply generous person. We shall miss her terribly.”

Olinka Nel, procurement director of CNA, said: “Dorah paved the way for a whole new generation of black female chefs in SA, and will always be remembered as a cultural pioneer. It has been such an honour to sell her books and to launch her last gift to the nation. Everyone at CNA is devastated by the news.”

In October, the award-winning author spoke to the Sunday Times about her journey in the food industry.

“I was born on 24 September 1953 in Soweto. And perhaps this date foretold that I would go on to build a career committed to celebrating and sharing African cuisine. But the first few years of my life gave no indication of what was to come. In fact, food was limited and for function, rather than pleasure,” Sitole told the publication.

“Growing up in apartheid SA, most people I knew had jobs such as teachers, nurses, policemen, clerks or domestic workers. Many of these jobs did not accurately reflect the person's interests or abilities, but were rather a practical choice, just to be employed.

“I, on the other hand, was having the surreal experience of following my passion. The more I learnt about food, the more I wanted to learn,” she said.

Details surrounding her death were not immediately available.