Traditional food a hit with visitors in Cape Town
The owners of such establishments say, in addition to enjoying a wide range of African meals, visitors are able to enjoy the company of diners from local communities.
One establishment, Igugu Le Africa (Heritage Of Africa) is fast becoming one of the most visited eateries by foreign tourists in Khayelitsha.
Owned by Abraham Bokwe, the restaurant serves traditional African food, from delicious samp and beans to beef and tripe stew served with dumplings and pap to fish and fat cakes with mince.
Bokwe, 71, said it had taken seven years and constant struggle to turn his restaurant into a viable business.
He worked at Blues Restaurant in Camps Bay before retiring in 1997.
“lt was very difficult to start the business, but he persevered and pushed hard,” he said.
Bokwe was nominated as Business Personality of the Year by KPMG in 2003 and that year was one of the caterers at Nelson Mandela’s birthday party at Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
Speaking while preparing dishes for a group of visitors from Ireland, he said traditional African food should be enjoyed by people from all over the world.
“Local restaurants should not only serve food to locals, but to everyone, regardless of race, sex, or nationality.
“Food is an expression of a universal cultural heritage. Visitors from all over the world come and eat here.
“We live in a diverse society; we therefore need to learn how to showcase our diverse cultures in food, too. With the support of locals and foreign visitors, I am now moving forward.”
Iqbal Hussein owns Easy Eats, a fast food restaurant in Mitchells Plain.
Hussein said in South Africa, food brought people of the country’s “dizzying diverse nature”, including visitors, together.
Locals and foreigners enjoyed the outlet’s famous masala steak gatsby, chicken tikka, mutton curry salomies and mutton breyani.
“We also cater for weddings and other social gatherings,” he said.
“Foreign visitors come and buy food here and they enjoy it. Food is a universal language.
“This business has grown, and * now employ six people to assist in making food for my clients.”