Food with soul in Masiphumelele

Mzingisi Ndwayi cooking some meat at Kwa Nongoloza’s Place.

If you’re looking for authentic South African food with a difference, look no further than Masiphumelele.

If you’re a fan of vetkoek, then Lolo’s Fast Food in Houmoed Avenue is the place to go.

Lolo Makie has been running her vetkoek business from a small concrete kiosk for the past 10 years.

She starts preparing the vetkoek dough, a recipe she got from her grandmother, at 7pm every evening.

The dough takes seven hours to rise and must be done by 3am the next day when she goes to her shop to prepare for opening, at 5am, and the “morning rush”.

On average, she sells about 400 vetkoek a day. The vetkoek is deep fried in oil and is served plain, with chicken livers or with a Russian sausage, which she calls a vetkoek burger. A plain vetkoek costs R4 while the chicken-liver and Russian vetkoek are R10 each.

“I’m usually sold out by 3pm,” she says. “I have a lot of regular customers and they come back every day.”

Soso Nokhubeka, who lives nearby, says she buys a vetkoek from Lolo’s every day.

“Her food is tasty and good value for money,” she says.

If you enjoy a good piece of meat on the braai, then Kwa Nongoloza’s Place, in Masemola Road, should be your go-to.

It is a family-run business that sells meat braaied on the premises.

The owner, Nozizwe Bozo, affectionately known as “Auntie” by the community, opened the business in August 2005 with her late husband, Vulindlela Ntongana.

He was a taxi driver in Fish Hoek, and she moved from East London to Cape Town in 2002 to be with him.

She ran several small businesses in East London, including cooking meals for factory workers and selling vegetables from her home.

Before opening Kwa Nongoloza’s Place, she sold chocolates and chips to a daycare centre in 2004.

“My husband could no longer work in the taxi industry, he was not well, and we needed something that would be simple and easy for us to get our hands on, and that is how we started, with a small stand outside our house and no employees.”

As their business grew, they needed more space and more staff. The business now has seven permanent employees and three seasonal ones.

Sometimes they take special orders from tourists and serve the meat with pap or salads.

“My children help me to run the business, and my other employees are like family so it one big family business.”

Her son, Thobela Ntongana, also sells cool drinks from the same premises.

Their busiest times are on weekends and around 5pm when people return from work and start preparing supper.

Ms Bozo says most of her customers are regulars and have supported her since the opening of Kwa Nongoloza’s Place.

“I love this community,” she says, “and I love people by nature, and this business allows me to communicate with people I wouldn’t have necessarily known if it was not for the business.”

Lolo Makie preparing a vetkoek burger.
Soso Nokhubeka outside Lolo’s fast food with her vetkoek.