Goma-Cheese Making Legacy Continues In DRC Despite Odds

Goma-Cheese Making Legacy Continues In DRC Despite Odds

From BBC News

A hillside village in the Democratic Republic of Congo is an unlikely site for the production of fine cheese. But here, one man continues a legacy started by Belgian priests in 1975.

Andre Ndekezi cuts carefully through thick, curdled milk with a large fork and then stirs it with his bare hands. He is making cheese in a bathtub.

His workshop is a small, wooden cabin perched on the lush hills of Masisi, in the east of the DR Congo.

The conditions are basic, but Ndekezi has a rare savoir-faire when it comes to dairy products.

The curd will spend a month on a shelf in a dark room in the back of the workshop and eventually become a refined cheese.

Simply known as Goma cheese – Goma is the largest town in the area – it is like a milder version of French gruyere, softer in texture.

Ndekezi is 52 years old and he learned how to do his job 30 years ago. At the time, all sorts of cheese was produced in eastern DR Congo.

”I know how to make camembert and mozzarella,” explains Ndekezi. “But we no longer have the necessary equipment or products to make those cheeses. During the war, everything was looted or destroyed.’

Written by Maud Jullien | Read more at BBC Africa