Langa food joint bags award

Mzansi Restaurant has been patronised by some big names, including Bob Marley’s eldest son, Rohan Marley, pictured in the centre.

A family-owned restaurant in Langa has won the Board Development Fund (BDF) award.

Mzansi Restaurant’s work as a tourism attraction has been recognised by Cape Town Tourism, whose board took a decision to forfeit their bonuses in 2013 to start the BDF annual award.

The BDF initiative aims to boost the tourism sector’s small businesses with marketing support, mentorship, supplier development and skills transfer.

The board also connects these entrepreneurs to its contacts and other stakeholders.

Situated in Langa, SA’s oldest township and the closest to the city centre, the Mzansi Restaurant is popular with local and international travellers.

The business, which was established in 2008, is run by Mbasa Siyaka, who says they have weathered many storms and felt honoured their hard work is being recognised.

He says the award “serves as validation of the vision that was birthed” by his grandmother, Nomvula. They employ 16 people.

“We wish to express our sincerest thanks to the Cape Town Tourism Board for not only providing Mzansi restaurant with the much-needed support to propel our growth, but also, for the realisation that SMMEs do not just need cash to grow. We also need an integrated approach that captures a wide but inter-dependent array of support,” Mr Siyaka says.

Before the first lockdown, Mr Siyaka says their business was rated number one on TripAdvisor.

Post-lockdown they hope to lead Cape Town’s tourism revival efforts. “Now, we find ourselves focused on two things: one, the return of international clients under a new normal and, two, expanding our off-site catering services to a more domestic market,” says Mr Siyaka.

Cape Town Tourism Board chairperson Brett Hendricks says providing support for local enterprises during this critical time is a vital cog in reviving the economy.

Mr Hendricks says the board hopes the BDF initiative will inspire other entities to plough back into the economy, especially by supporting small businesses, which, he says, is where South Africa’s growth comes from.

“And we cannot rely solely on government to fund and support them,” he says.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy says the entity has been working together with other sectors in attempting to manage the negative impact of lockdown on the local economy and to grow it.

“Restaurants and small businesses like Mzansi not only demonstrate that Cape Town has so much to offer right across the peninsula but also support and provide job opportunities for lots of people within their communities.”