Food, and the sharing thereof has long been known for bringing people together.

Boeka (the word Cape Muslims use for breaking one’s fast at Sunset during Ramadan) is synonymously celebrated in the Cape with the sharing and exchange of ‘boeka’ plates, with neighbours, family and friends. This is a food dish your family has prepared, and shares.

Growing up in Woodstock, before boeka or iftar, my mother would send my siblings and I to our neighbours with a boeka plate of something sweet or savoury to share. In exchange, the neighbours would share what they had made. When we got back home we would put all these plates out on the table and my brother and I would excitedly open to see what each neighbour had sent. It was a big treat. Our boeka table would be filled with a variety of different dishes. It was all about sharing the little you had and the abundance and blessings thereof.

Due to lockdown, in the context of the pandemic, this tradition was for the first time not possible, physically. It is the first Ramadan that I can recall, where no boeka plates are being exchanged. I missed this Cape tradition that is vividly inherent to my culture and upbringing.

To bridge this gap, I imagined and created @boekawithoutborders – an Instagram platform where anyone anywhere in the world can share a virtual boeka plate from their home across streets, neighbourhoods, countries and oceans during this blessed month of Ramadan, while under lockdown. The platform is not limited to those observing Ramadan, as it is centered around the universal value of sharing food to connect and unite.

Boekawithoutborders aims to create a spirit of community and solidarity through the virtual exchange and sharing of boeka plates to spread the spirit of Ramadan throughout the world amongst people of different religions and nationalities. It uses creativity and technology to foster human connection during these unusual times whilst a third of the world is experiencing some form of lockdown.

Although this initiative was started less than two weeks ago, people have resonated with the idea and connected via this platform. Boeka plates have been sent and received across South Africa, the Indian and Atlantic Ocean to and from countries including the Seychelles to Ladysmith, Palestine to Cape Town, Bloemfontein to Ireland, Cape Town to Leuven Belgium, Johannesburg to London, Switzerland, Cape Town to Australia, Zimbabwe to Zambia, Mali and Manila Philippines, Albania and Calgary Canada, Durban to Cape Town, Namibia, Italy, Spain, Germany and Ruwais in the UAE and the list of cities continues to grow.

Let’s keeping spreading the spirit of Ramadan all over the world. Tag @BoekaWithoutBorders #BoekaWithoutBorders in your post. Check out the gallery below for a taste of what we’re sharing!

Let’s Boeka together apart!


Feature photo: Ayesha Mukadam
Additional photos shared by Khairoonisa Foflonker , Shireen Mukadam, Basel Agbaria, Esther Mena Alarcón, Noncedo Gxekwa.