Fatima Sydow and her twin sister Gadija Sydow Noordien never set out to become cooking TV stars, they really just wanted to share their passion for food.
The sisters have wrapped the first season of their show Kaap, kerrie en koesisters on Via which is just one part of their cooking journey.
Fatima says: “We believe because we grew up, sitting around the table and having that bond and connection with our mother and father, looking back now we realise that that bond played a significant role in keeping us off the street.”
She adds that her mom was instrumental in the lives because of what she taught them in the kitchen: “In turn she didn’t just teach us a skill, she taught us that commitment to family to not be lazy. If you were called to the kitchen you had to get up and go and that taught you discipline as well.”
Cooking is at the heart of everything these sisters do and they use it as a tool to help people in their community of Mitchells Plain, Cape Town.
Gadija is a librarian and she started a programme with adult learners who were committed to finishing Grade 12, during her tutoring sessions with the group she would often cook and bake and share a meal with the students.
“I was an adult learner and I was 27/28 when I did my Matric,” says Gadija.
“And a lady approached me and she said she needed help with her work, and then word spread and we soon became a group of 20 (that I tutored),” she adds.
Both sisters are keen on cooking and community work but most fans first met Fatima, or saw her recipes on Facebook because that’s how she started her Cape Malay Cooking journey.
Fatima says that over the years women who needed her help, were depressed and even suicidal have reached out to her on social media and she has assisted them.
“In my five years on Facebook, I’ve had a few (people I’ve helped) and I can safely say now these people are happier,” she says
Fatima adds: “And there’s a lot of people who have come back to me and said because of my Facebook page, our stories and our recipes they have started their own little businesses. Just in their home and from having absolutely nothing.”