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Shisanyama, Amapiano and Nando's sauce: the best of South African Shanghai

Hundreds of nationalities call Shanghai home. We’re saluting them one by one

Photograph: Simba, Damien Savant Studios
The South African community in Shanghai is fairly lowkey, but tightknit. While there aren’t too many venues or restaurants dedicated specifically to South African culture or cuisine (we hardly knew ye, Cape Grape), there are plenty of South Africans who are active in the community – just ask Perpetua Mbali.

She runs the platform AfroAsian, along with Ladies Who Tech co-founder Jill Tang. Together their aim is to promote and celebrate African and Asian culture, lifestyle, travel, fashion and more. Through bi-monthly events and meet-ups, participants get the opportunity to learn more about both of these cultures. Add WeChat ID ‘Afro_Asian’ for more info.

Do it like a South African

Perpetua's tips
Photograph: courtesy Bendo Na Bendo

Perpetua's tips

Bendo Na Bendo

Bendo Na Bendo is all about unity through music and dance, hosting monthly dance parties bumping Afrobeats, hip hop, dance hall and more at various locations throughout the city. While there’s certainly the occasional South African  air to the music choices, the overall goal is to unite people not only of the African diaspora, but all global citizens. Add WeChat ID ‘bendocommunitygroup’ for more.

Photograph: Jonathan Claesen


The shisanyama – also known as a braai – is essentially a huge barbecue and an important part of South African culture. They happen sporadically throughout the city, but one of the most popular led by Jonathan Claesen, a South African who’s been hosting the gatherings since around 2017. The semi-regular affair takes place at casual eatery Crocus and is an all-out bash, with South African music, impromptu dance parties and of course good eats. Add WeChat ID ‘1444987592’ for more info.

Your tips
Photograph: Andrea Leon via Unsplash

Your tips

‘People order snacks, spices and Nando’s sauce from Zillo (follow WeChat account: ZimRetail).’ – Noxolo B via WeChat

‘Get African body butter and essential oils from K (WeChat ID: QueensQuest).’ – Judy D via WeChat

‘DJ Suiker Bossie plays great Amapiano around the city.’ – Estelle O via WeChat

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