Akabenzi; The new item on the Menu

Pork or Akabenzi (as it’s fondly known) is the culinary name for pigs meat. There is evidence that suggests pig husbandry dates back to 5000 BC.
Pork is becoming a favourite delicacy in Rwanda.
Pork is becoming a favourite delicacy in Rwanda.

Pork or Akabenzi (as it’s fondly known) is the culinary name for pigs meat. There is evidence that suggests pig husbandry dates back to 5000 BC. It is also one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide. Here in Rwanda, it was consumed by a few people and a person eating pork was often frowned upon but, all that has changed.

Nowadays, Kigali is streaming with pork joints. It’s hard to tell if this delicacy is devoured in other ways other than when roasted and fried. In most pork joints a kilogram goes for RWF 3000 and is served with roasted bananas, Irish potatoes or cassava.

At the moment, pork joints mint money more than bigger restaurants. Folks from all walks of life storm pork joints in big droves everyday of the week. “Business is doing great. We get clients everyday of the week. Many people come here for a bite bringing with them their entire families on weekends to share this delicacy;” said Uwambaye Florence, the mananger of Come Again Bar, at Remera-Giporoso.

“At first I thought that the only reason our predecessors loathed eating pork was because the holy book in Matthew 7:6 say’s, “Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. It’s easier to convince an Eskimo to buy a refrigerator than it is to convince an old Rwandan folk to eat pork,” she said.

But according to Mzee Samaza Augustine, an Octogenarian, this is not the case. “Rwandans are naturally proud people. Pork aside, even meats like mutton, duck and rabbit in our times were un-heard of!” he stated. “Pigs are filthy, stinky and insensitive. You do not want to be in or even around a pigsty. If you have ever passed by a pig farm, then you have sensed the disgusting odor coming from it! How then can you go ahead and eat such a brute?” he asked.

“I’m now a man with my own family but still can’t admit to my parents that I eat pork. Sometimes I take my siblings out for a pork-fest but I first swear them to secrecy lest our parents disown us,” revealed 37 year old Kamanzi Austin, an architect.

I understand the old man’s dilemma because things like ham, sausages and many other pork specialties are a favorite. The good old animal just seems to be getting better.

Kim, one of the regular  ‘Pork eaters’ we found devouring  succulent roast pork served with extras including cassava, tomatoes and avocado  at ‘ Bar Chez  Kibaluma ’, another  famous pork joint At Muhima , said he is not at all bothered by the ‘lifestyle’ of a pig.

He just smiled and said ‘pork eaters’ were smart. “We never talk or envisage a living pig; we skip all the details and fast-forward the life of the Akabenzi till it’s served on the tray!” he said taking in another mouthful.

A pig may be filthy and stinky but looking on the bright side, don’t sausages, bacon, ham, salami, pork chops, etc just sound delicious?

martin.bishop18@yahoo.com

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