Gender, modernity & Indian delights: the women's cultural group of Durban, 1954-2010
For decades, South Africans aspiring to make the perfect biryani have turned to Indian Delights, the best selling cookbook produced by Zuleikha Mayat and the Women's Cultural Group. This is the story of the women behind the recipes; it is an account that brings to life the changing, gendered worlds of Muslim women in 20th century Durban. Through a blend of scholarly rigour and compelling biography, this book reveals how a group of women, who were formally excluded from both political and customary power, nevertheless forged a vibrant citizenship and public life for themselves. In the midst of unfolding global and local transformation "apartheid, feminism, doctrinal shifts in Islam " the members of the Women's Cultural Group were themselves agents of change, not only within the local communities that benefited from their proficient and varied labours, but in the making of South African modernity. Academic historians Goolam Vahed and Thembisa Waetjen have constructed a multilayered narrative that captures the spirit and housewifey appeal of their subjects. A fascinating read for anyone interested in local history, gender identity, and Islam in the Indian-Ocean region.