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Department of Coffee: Successfully pioneering township coffeeshop culture (Date: 02 January 2013 Source: YBL)

January 5, 2013

You will be forgiven if you think the Department of Coffee (DoC) is an import agency by the hands of the Department of Agriculture. There are no links to the government what so ever: Instead, the DoC is the first exclusive coffee shop in the heart of Cape Town’s township of Khayelitsha. 

YBL met up with Khayelitsha’s coffee pioneers: Wongami Baleni (left on picture), Vuyile Msaku (right) and Vusumsi Mamile. For years, these dynamic guys – all in their twenties – dreamed of owning their own business. ‘It took three years brewing before we decided what we wanted to do,’ says Baleni.

In July 2012 the DoC finally opened its doors on the corner of Ntlazane Street and Khwezi Crescent next to the train station. Since then the trio has taken Khayalitsha by storm. The coffee shop has been so successful that the entrepreneurs are planning an entire chains of coffee shops.

Their dream started with Baleni who was a seasonal fireman. ‘I liked the idea of setting up a business as I worked as a fireman from December to June only. The rest of the year I spent as a casual selling meat in taverns.’

After  meeting Sibusiso “S’bu” Momoti of the NGO Connect Community Development (CCD) Baleni resigned from the fire department after two years service. Momoti suggested to attend meditation and life skills training to help me focus and clear my mind,’ Baleni recalls. 

It was Momoti who approached Murray Ingram of the Ministry of Service Delivery (MoSD) – a concept formed by like-minded people who had come together to create a hands-on approach to job creation. This gave way to the DoC. ‘I am very proud of these guys,’ says Ingram, who approached colleagues and friends to help finance the company.

Why coffee and why in Khayelitsha? ‘It was an open opportunity as no-one was selling coffee there,’ Baleni explains. ‘That means there was no competition, we took our chance.’

With a price list that pleases the purse, with a Cappuccino and a muffin costing R11, it is no wonder that coffee aficionados flock to DoC. The coffee shop also offers a variety of espresso blends as well as a tea menu and hot chocolate.

Msaku proudly explains that DoC now blends and sells its own range of house coffee under its own label.

Msaku, Mamile and Baleni still hold onto their five-year plan, one that will see DoC outlets opening around Cape Town’s townships, as they would like to give back to the community by training unemployed people in the art of coffee making to an increasingly discerning public.

– Cathy Dipnall –

Link to original story:

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.


From → Development, Youth

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