“So how many people braaied on National Braai Day last year?” is a question that I frequently get asked by people. To know the answer to that question, I would need the help of the three companies who together have access to more than 100% of South Africans every day. Vodacom, MTN and CellC. Sadly, none of the three have agreed to help me count it yet, so I don’t have the answer. Another question that I cannot answer is how many braais there was in South Africa in the past year. So I want to answer a more simple question: How many South Africans did not braai once in the past year?
For what follows below, I assume that “having a braai” includes being present at a location where food is braaied and eating some of that food. Unofficially, the official population of South Africa sits at 46,000,000. According to Statistics South Africa, 46% of South Africans are rural and the rest urban. I have travelled rural South Africa extensively and can say with 100% certainty that every rural person in South Africa definitely had a braai in the past year. From your sheep farmer in the Karoo to your Xhosa in Transkei, they all light fires and cook their food on it. Some do it on a daily basis, others only on special occasions. That leaves us with the urban lot. Here it gets trickier. We can safely assume that inhabitants of townships all had a braai. If you doubt this, drive though a township on a Saturday afternoon and look at the Chisa Nyama spots for yourself. Those in the suburbs we can also safely assume all had a braai, its part of Suburb life. It’s the ones living in flats that pose the problem. But they are the ones that make a special effort on weekends to have a braai. That leaves us with Bergies. Do they ever braai? Possibly not. So what we need to do is get the Bergies braaing. And once that happens, we can confidently say that all South Africans braai at least once a year.