De Freitas family bring back fresh fish for Easter

Jameel and Cheslyn de Freitas standing behind the smoked snoek.

The famous words of the fishmongers – “Se vir jou ma daars vis” (tell your mother there’s fish) were pasted on a banner on a tree trunk at the Easter weekend fish market at Jolly Carp, in Sasmeer Road, Retreat.

Those words brought back memories for the De Freitas family who were happy to be fishmongers again after they were banned from selling fish at Princess Vlei 23 years ago.

A long-time way of life and their livelihood was threatened (“Fisherfolk’s heritage should be preserved”, September 12 2018).

However, the comeback at the weekend was a blessing, as the family came together to make fresh fish available for Easter.

Jean de Freitas said the weekend was to make the people of the Cape Flats aware that various fish such as snoek will be back at a
reasonable price in the community.

“Jolly Carp is a gem and the owner basically opened the door to us so that we could bring fish back to the community.”

Jean’s cousin, Cheslyn de Freitas said the Jolly Carp housed other cultures such as that of the Khoisan and the De Freitas who were a combination of Khoisan and Portuguese. “We are the fourth generation of fishmongers and we want to bring the community spirit back to the local people.”

Mr De Freitas said times have changed and people have evolved as the new generation was health conscious. “My sons brought a slight change in the tradition and they are preparing the fish differently than us. They would add herbs to the smoked fish, and I must say it tasted great.”

Another cousin, Kamila Brenner, said there were three chefs in the family and each one brings a new way of cooking style to the family.

Fish on the braai, smoked fish and fresh fish were sold over the weekend. “Did your mother make pickled fish already?” asked Kamila.

Pickled fish is a staple food for Easter.

The family aims to bring the Oyster Festival to Cape Town and will be serving the community on their doorstep soon.