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2021- 'Potjiekos' Competition, Perth WA

Teams of South African & Rhodesian veterans compete for the coveted trophy of 'Potjiekoskonings' held at the Belmont RSL in Perth WA.

Facebook post 24 August 2021 by Veteran Ben Opperman

It is getting bigger and better! We’re talking ‘potjiekos’ competition here in Perth at the RSL Belmont where teams of South African and Rhodesian veterans compete for the coveted trophy of ‘Potjiekoskonings’.

A record number of 16 pots were entered this year giving the three judges lots to taste and much to decide. They had their job cut out for them and they surely took their time but why not? With so much delicious food on offer and to taste….who can blame them! Well over a 140 patrons were in attendance wanting to have a taste of the pots and very hungry by the time they were called to line up. Apart from a good eat much enjoyment was had by all if one was to go by the noise and laughter. In the end all that was left were a few spoons full gravy in each pot.

There has to be a winner and this year Veteran Jess van der Nest walked off with the trophy with Veteran Craig Howard a close runner-up. In the end everyone was a winner no matter how you look at it. Being committed and with a strong sense of belonging makes the organisation what it is here in WA. What you put in is what you get out of it. It’s a no-brainer. Again it was a matter of if you weren’t there you missed out big time. The atmosphere was one of everybody having great fun and much joy. Lots of banter going around and not even the light drizzle of rain now and then could dampen the spirits. All the teams came prepared and gazebos were put up in no time ensuring a carefree exercise in making a good pot. As soon as all the pots were under way the contestants settled down to some serious ‘kuier’. Good to see the many young participants with some teams.

Now, Veteran Slade Healy started something when he coined the phrase ‘Noble Order of the Brave Stayers’ (NOBS) for all those brave and mature (I will not use the word ‘old’) veterans who cover the full nine yards at his annual bonfire. I think a ‘Noble Order of the African Pot Stirrers’ (NOAPS) are therefor in order for all those brave and mature veterans who take on the multiple challenges of prepping a pot, ensure it does not burn and get to the table on time with themselves still intact and still capable to converse intelligently. Henceforth they will be ‘onnerable memba’s’ of NOAPS. Those who win the trophy will be ‘onnerable onnerable memba’s’.

Prepping your pot with the smell of fried onions and other marvellous odours around makes one very hungry and to quell the hungry pangs we (Team Potluck) decided to do a ‘barbie’ on the side. Some tasty ‘boerewors’ was thrown onto a rather flimsy five dollar disposable BBQ unit. It did the job to perfection and were soon able to still the hunger. Veteran Bill Mullany did the round asking if somebody had a grill. They also had the same idea. We obliged by letting them have our baby BBQ unit. It was better than nothing. They added a few more briquettes and soon had their ‘boerewors’ ready to eat.

The little BBQ unit was by now taking serious strain having done two strenuous rounds. Just when it was

thought it couldn’t get any worse the poor little thing was burdened with a fresh load of heated briquettes and a huge Texan steak thrown on the grill nearly obscuring it! It was up to the task and the steak was cooked to perfection. Bill cut it into small ‘machonchas’ and did a few rounds offering it to those around the pots. It was delicious! And thus the tradition set by our late friend Tim Chadwick continuous. It all adds to the Esprit de Corps. Well done to the ‘bats’!

Some of the names the teams came up with….Nesties, Kalahari Curry Kings, Aladdin’s Kitchen, RLI (Rhodesian Light Infantry), Infantry Kip-Kip, Kaprivi Captains, Triple B, Echo Airborne, Skabenga’s, Cape Independence, Potluck, Hookoo’s, Non-Practising Veg, I&J Higley, Pot Food Junkies……

Sometime during all the festivities someone came up with the great idea of publishing a book with the recipes of the day’s ‘potjies’. The idea was kicked around a bit and everybody asked about the idea thought it was great and thus it was decided to go ahead. Word was put out to all the contestants to forward their recipes, and hints and pictures. The booklet, albeit in digital format will be on sale for a few dollars which will be used to help fund the new display units that are due to start shortly.

Back home the pots were thoroughly cleaned as would have been the case in all the ‘potjie’-builders’s homes, dried out, wiped with an oily rag, stuffed full of crumpled newspaper and put back on the shelf until next time when we do it all over again. To all those stepping up a big thank you!

This from the RSL - “Greater than any fairground, filled with fun, thrills, excitement, high noise levels, eating far more than we should and challenges, Our Southern African Potjies Evening - Sat 21 August, had it ALL – plus.

I would like to publicly acknowledge all those, who’s planning, efforts and contributions, has etched this event into our calendars for more years than imaginable. More importantly, the 140 or so guests, which brought it all together, “filled with fun, thrills, excitement, high noise levels, eating far more than we should and challenges” Thanks guys.

With sixteen competing in the competition. Sadly, there could only be one Winner, Congratulations to Jess van der Nest and his talented team “Nesties”.

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