Cooking up a storm

Albert Nyabanga and Peter Mkhabela wake up early to feed thousands of commuters in Tembisa. Photographer Cebile Ntuli spends time with them.

Born and bred in Maputo, Mozambique, Albert Nyabanga (32) came to South Africa in 2004 in search of greener pastures.

When he landed in this country, Nyabanga worked in construction and was determined to provide for his family back home.

But, after a gruelling seven years in the industry, the father of one realised that he wanted to be an entrepreneur.

This realisation came to fruition when he started his own business of selling mogodu (tripe) and inyama yenhloko (cow head) in Tembisa, Gauteng, back in 2011, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“People support my business – they come from different places to buy my food and they say I have a great hand,” says Nyabanga.

He and his 24-year-old nephew Peter Mkhabela wake up at 5am every day and head to Esangweni Taxi Rank, where they are based.

Albert Nyabanga found a niche market for his busin
Albert Nyabanga found a niche market for his business at Esangweni Taxi Rank in Tembisa, Gauteng
Nyabanga wakes up at 5am to prepare the meat
Nyabanga wakes up at 5am to prepare the meat
It takes Nyabanga about two hours to prepare his d
It takes Nyabanga about two hours to prepare his delectable and nourishing breakfast dishes of tripe and cow head, with which hungry commuters bolster themselves for the day
Peter Mkhabela wakes up early to prepare pap and m
Peter Mkhabela wakes up early to prepare pap and mogodu with his uncle.
Nyabanga left construction work to cook mala mogod
Nyabanga left construction work to cook mala mogodu
Nyabanga is happy with his decision to leave const
Nyabanga is happy with his decision to leave construction and start his own business
Pap is almost ready to be served.
Pap is almost ready to be served.
Customers arrive as early as 7am at Albert Nyabang
Customers arrive as early as 7am at Albert Nyabanga and Peter Mkhabela’s stall

Nyabanga it says it takes about two hours to thoroughly prepare his excellent dishes.

Normally, the early birds arrive at about 7am and expect to find their favourite dish ready.

Nyabanga says that, to avoid lot of work in the morning, he always fetches his order from the local butcher in the afternoon, and chops and prepares the food the night before.

Sometimes during the week, this morning business peak hour becomes so busy that they have to cook twice.

“With this business, I feed my family; I send money to Maputo; I take care of myself; and I send kids to school,” he proudly explains.


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