Dorah Sitole. Picture: Instagram
Dorah Sitole. Picture: Instagram

Dorah Sitole hailed as ‘doyenne of food’ as fans and celebs pay homage to industry icon

By Entertainment Reporter Time of article published Jan 4, 2021

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South Africa woke up to the shocking news of the passing of former food editor and celebrated chef Dorah Sitole. The award-winning author died at a hospital in Joburg on Sunday. She was 67 years old.

Fans and local celebrities, including Siba Mtongana, Rami Chuene and Masasa Mbangeni expressed their shock after the devastating news of Sitole’s death broke on social on Monday morning.

Tributes have also poured in as Mzansi celebrate the life and legacy of Mam D as she was affectionately known.

In a press statement, NB Publishers sent their sincere condolences to the Sitole family, also honouring the legacy of Sitole as a celebrated culinary book author. “Dorah was a significant icon, respected and loved by all who met her. Everyone at the publishing house extends sincere condolences to Dorah’s family at this most difficult time.”

Sitole published her latest cookbook ’40 Years of Iconic Food’ in October, the body of work which celebration of Sitole’s culinary journey, “which took her from a hungry childhood in the townships to kitchens and cuisines across Africa and beyond.”

Her remarkable career in food has led to her becoming a celebrated figure in culinary circles and a beloved household name.

Eloise Wessels, chief executive of NB Publishers, has commented that “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 Nell, procurement director of CNA said: “Dorah paved the way for a whole new generation of black female chefs in South Africa, 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.”

Celebrity chef and TV personality Siba Mtongana shared a photograph of her with Sitole at an event in 2019. In a lengthy post, the Siba's Table star paid a moving tribute to the woman who played a major role in her career as a chef.

Taking to Instagram on Monday, she wrote: “I wish someone could say it's not true!😥 … Mam D!! She was my voice of reason and mentor when I was frustrated with all the hurdles in the corporate world of media with all her wealth of knowledge and experience in the food media and publishing world.”

“She paved a way for many black foodies and chefs we have to this day … In this picture, it's where we last physically met which was 2019 at the @eatoutguide Awards where she was honoured with the prestigious Eat Out Irna van Zyl Food Media Icon Award.”

The star was grateful to Mam Sitole for her “immense contribution to the industry for the past 40 years.”

She also sent her message of comfort to the family, also hailing “What a legacy!🙌🏾 Lala ngoxolo Mam D! May your soul Rest In Peace! Our national treasure and doyenne of food … Siyabulela! 🙏🏾

“May the Sitole family find comfort, love and strength in this difficult time in their family!”

Former Scandal! actress Masasa Mbanegi also expressed her heartbreak on social media, she tweeted: “Ndihlupheke! Yhini Bawo uthatha uMama Dorah (God, why did you decide to take Mam Dorah) I can’t stop weeping. My heart is so sore. My deepest condolences to the Sitole family . #RIPDorahSitole.”

Kaya FM presenter Thabo “Tbose” Mokwele also shared his disbelief at the news of Sitole’s untimely death.

He wrote: “Am shook at the news of your passing. Thank you for opening doors, paving the way and inspiring others to make their culinary passion, a career. #RiPDorahSitole.”

Isono actress Rami Chuene also expressed her sadness at the devastating news, she wrote: “Bathong Mam’ Dorah Sithole? No maaan.”

More tributes continue to pour in on social media as South Africa remember the food icon.

Janine J wrote: “Mam Dorah was an icon and a legend but also the kindest woman. She welcomed me into the publishing world 15 years ago when I was an intern. She’d always marvel and laugh that our group of magazine girls were still tight all these years later (Khensani Kabelo Kemong Mokgadi).”

“Ma’Dorah welcomed me every time with open arms. Her first words were, ‘how are you?’ ‘how is work?’ This truly feels so surreal. And this day just seems to be moving so slowly,” TV producer and film director and Thabang Moleya said.

“Deeply saddened by the passing of Mam’ Dorah Sitole. She was an inspiration to so many of us. What a great loss to the country and the culinary world. #RiPDorahSitole,” actress and TV filmmaker Terry Pheto said.

“Lala ngoxolo, Ma. Siyabulela ngawe. My heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones. I hope the publishing industry gives Mam Dorah Sitole the flowers she deserves. She was a pioneering, multi award-winning industry icon who edited True Love for 25 years. #RIPDorahSitole ,” former Glamour SA editor Asanda Sizani said.

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