Cape Malay cooking guru dies at 62
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FALDELA Williams, who died on Sunday at the age of 62, was a well-known and respected expert in Cape Malay cooking, but she was also witty, fun and always up for anything exciting and new.
“She was really a girl of the world,” her husband, Ebrahim Williams, told the Cape Times yesterday, explaining that she regularly travelled the world promoting South African food.
“She was a very exciting person.”
Faldela, whose cookbooks including The Cape Malay Cookbook have been used in many South African kitchens for 25 years, died on Sunday night after being admitted to hospital six weeks ago when she suffered a heart attack.
Her husband said he had been receiving text messages, calls and visitors non-stop since Sunday. He said people had told him that “the world is smaller without her in it”.
“She was dynamite, she touched so many lives. Everybody misses her tremendously,” he added.
Williams was praying for his wife at around 3pm on Sunday. “When I came down, I saw my daughter’s face and thought, wow, there’s no more Faldela,” he said.
The couple were married for 39 years and Faldela recently told friends how much she was looking forward to their 40th anniversary. They had three children, Riefqah, Aisha and Saadiq, and six grandchildren.
Faldela was an executive committee member at her mosque in Claremont, where prayers have been said for her this week.
Kiyaam Bassier of Boorhanol Islam, who print the annual Boeka Treats food guide, said Faldela Williams’s contribution extended beyond the boundaries of the Cape.
“Her famous books were read by all, young and old, Muslim and non-Muslim, from Cape Town and beyond,” he said.
Bassier said Faldela’s three Cape Malay cookbooks “provided vital resources in preserving the culinary culture of the Muslim community” and was “a source of inspiration” to them. When he last saw Faldela she spoke of how happy she was to live next door to her children and to have regular visits from her grandchildren.
Bassier added: “She has certainly made her mark in Cape Town and will be deeply missed.”