CAPE TOWN - The somewhat traditional practice of family coming together and sharing meals, breaking bread together – including favourites such as a home-made bread with ulusu, umphokoqo and curried stew – inspired the founding of Noble on Long, a Cape Town-based family-run and owned restaurant.
Its founder and director, Mama Lokiwe Mtwazi, says: “It was from these family gatherings that values were entrenched for the younger generation and support given to each member to achieve their God-given purpose.
“When the opportunity arose it was taken with both hands and it was a matter of extending the home environment to another home, albeit on a wider scale accommodating South Africans, Africans, and tourists alike.”
Mama Mtwazi is a nurse by profession and besides nursing qualifications, she holds Masters in Public Administration. Her 11 years of experience as an executive director of the City of Cape Town comes in very handy in the management of the business as she applies the critical principles of business management.
Noble on Long, located on Long Street in the heart of the mother city, serves multicultured dishes with a fusion of the true traditional African and Western in a homely environment with friendly staff that ensures that each customer has a “noble experience”. The size of the restaurant also ensures that the environment fits the purpose.
“We value integrity and commitment to providing a special and a memorable culinary experience. Our menu offers traditional African dishes from different regions of the continent right up to updated meals that meet the needs of the urban diner,” says Mama Mtwazi.
She explains that the establishment’s operating philosophy is “connecting through African cuisine using various conversation platforms such as client engagement, poetry, seminar, music, to count a few”.
Mama Mtwazi says she is confident that the business is destined for long-term sustainability through excellent culinary and customer service. “We are fully aware that most businesses in our industry often do not make it past 36 months, however, we are focussed on the long-term sustainability of our business.”
She says as a small business, surviving the first year of operations in this highly competitive industry is one of their first achievements. On February 27 Noble on Long will be celebrating one year since opening its home to the public.
On the business’s medium- to long-term goals, Mama Mtwazi says: “Noble on Long would like to extend its home business to other African families ensuring that they experience home away from home by adding food from other African countries.
“Also extending its client base to the broader local community where each can find a homely meal at an affordable price. Most importantly, as we expand we want to create a home that provides a platform for all young artists to showcase their talent.”
She explains that in five years she – and the family of course – would like to realise organic growth – either through opening another outlet or operating from a bigger space than the present. “Tied to our growth story would be the sustainability of the suppliers who support our business on day to day.
“We aim to be the African cuisine restaurant of choice in the City of Cape Town. Much like our city is world class and so is our vision for Noble on Long.” Five months ago Noble on Long introduced “Noble Lagos” – a Nigerian menu – alongside “Noble Mzantsi” – South African menu.
Mama Mtwazi says “this expanded our home to accommodate the Nigerian family” and has also helped to expand the business’s client base.
The kitchen is headed by a qualified chef who only wants to be known as “Jacob The Chef”, nothing else. The chef is assisted by Peretse “TaSpi” Mbuku, who focuses on Noble Mzantsi, and Joel Bassei, who focuses on Noble Lagos. “These three run our small kitchen efficiently,” says Mama Mtwazi.
The front line inclusive of Noble on Long’s bar facility is headed by an experienced Nhlanhla Nekhwevha – who is well-known to the restaurant's regular “noblemen” and “noblewomen” – assisted by another staff member, Nokuthula Mkosana, on a part-time basis and family members.
- BUSINESS REPORT