Award-winning V&A Waterfront restaurant closes its doors later this month

Chef Mmabatho Molefe. Picture: Supplied

Chef Mmabatho Molefe. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 9, 2024


South Africa’s food scene is mourning the loss of one of the most admirable restaurants, Emazulwini. Its doors will close on Sunday, February 25.

Owned by chef Mmabatho Molefe, Emazuwlini is a modern Zulu-inspired restaurant that celebrates Nguni cuisine and South African ingredients.

The restaurant opened its doors in 2020 at the V&A Waterfront’s Makers Landing after Molefe lost her job in the restaurant industry due to the pandemic.

When Emazulwini was launched, she said: “Makers Landing is a food space promoting local cuisine and SMMEs and my mentor helped me fund the set-up to share my story as a black, young Zulu woman.

“My parents always tried to make sure that as a family we always spent time together, so when I think of food it is associated with family and being in a group. I tell myself every morning I am telling my story; my interpretation of what Zulu food is.

“I hope people embrace it for what it is. We hope to elevate ordinary dishes to the exceptional.”

A few years down the line, it is closing.

Without giving an reasons, Molefe wrote an Instagram post saying that they had grown, collaborated and met some of the best people they could ever meet, but the best part about it had been getting the chance to feed and serve people.

“The past three years have gone by quicker than expected. Starting out as a 10-seater restaurant with three chefs, a waiter, and no sculler, is definitely how I would do it again.

“It has come to the time we can officially announce that our time at Makers Landing has come to an end and we will be closing our doors on the 25th of February.

“What a time it has been!! We have grown, collaborated, and met some of the best people we could ever meet, but the best part about it has been getting the chance to feed and serve all of you,” she said.

Molefe also noted that they would have a special collaboration line-up for their last Sunday lunch and that people should be on the lookout on their social media pages for more details.

As the restaurant closes down, it leaves a mark in the dining scene as it had recently won the African Restaurant of the Year title at the 4th annual Luxe Restaurant Awards in 2022.

The same year, Molefe was named “hospitality pioneer” on The World's 50 Best’s 50 Next list.

She attended the awards ceremony on June 24 where she joined in an inspirational day of discussions with members.

Along with other winners, Molefe shared her vision “to be an outspoken black woman, to reintroduce indigenous ingredients to the South African diet and to show the beauty of them”.