Matriarch and trailblazer of South African food media Dorah Sitole dies age 67

South African chef, author and editor Dorah Sitole has died. At the time of her death, she lived in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

Channel24 earlier confirmed her death, but no other information about the circumstances of her passing has been made public.

Mam Dorah, as she was affectionately known, was the first Black food editor in South Africa, serving at the helm of True Love magazine. Through True Love magazine, Dorah’s recipes and style reached South African households at all levels, fostering a growing pride for traditional recipes that had fallen out of fashion.

Dorah created a space for Black South Africans to express themselves in print and is widely credited as the inspiration for many recipe developers and TV chefs that we know and love today.

In November 2019, Dorah was the recipient of the inaugural Eat Out Irna van Zyl Food Media Icon Award, for her continued work to mentor and inspire food journalists in South Africa.

Dorah Sitole receives the inaugural Eat Out Irna van Zyl Food Media Icon Award, November 2019.

At the time Eat Out wrote: “Deciding on the first-ever Eat Out Irna van Zyl Food Media Icon was easy: Dorah Sitole has dedicated her life to food publishing. The veritable legend, known reverently and affectionately as Ma Dorah, has taken on many roles in the wide span of her impressive career, from food editor of True Love to author of internationally acclaimed cookbooks, such as the seminal Cooking from Cape To Cairo: A Taste of Africa.”


Over the years, Ma Dorah has not only raised awareness for the versatility of South African cuisine, but she’s also shown her incredible love for it as a writer, recipe developer and food stylist.

Dorah serves as a beacon of inspiration for all those entering the industry and her values are a roadmap for industry stars like Siba Mtongana and Mogau Seshoene (The Lazy Makoti).

“Dorah is a visionary who’s changed, motivated and inspired SA food writers including myself,” said former Fair Lady food editor Abigail Donnelly. “You can feel her warmth and generosity in her writing.”

New Media CEO Aileen Lamb shared a touching tribute on social media earlier today with this message: “Dorah, you were a truly inspiring, kind human being who made an incredible impact to so many in the SA food industry – you will be sorely missed. May you RIP, dear Dorah.”

Eat Out contributor and former Foodie at Large, Zola Nene posted about Mam Dorah in February 2020 saying, “I have the utmost adoration and respect for this incredible woman, she is an absolute light. Thank you for being a constant inspiration Dorah Sitole, I love and appreciate you 💛‬”

‪#appreciationpost – I have the utmost adoration and respect for this incredible woman, she is an absolute…

Posted by Zola Nene on Thursday, 13 February 2020


This is a developing story.

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