Gugulethu’s iconic restaurant, Mzoli’s Place will celebrate 20 years of existence with a bang on Sunday.
Top deejays headed by Umhlobo Wenene FM’s Pastor Nozewu, DJ Luv Child, DJ Keys, DJ Ayanda, Ruffest, Zami Mdingi and Jazzimandi Live Band and Themba Fassie will provide entertainment on the day.
This comes a month after violent housing protesters set the establishment on fire, including a Pick n Pay franchise next door.
Both were looted and vandalised in a frenzy of violent protest.
Owner Mzoli Ngcawuzele started selling meat from a garage in his house in 1998 and by 2003 the business had gained enough traction to be a popular hangout, endorsed by famous faces such as DJ Fresh and TV chef Jamie Oliver.
That same year, he received a shot in the arm via a start-up fund from the Development Bank of South Africa as part of their support for black-owned businesses.
Speaking to City Vision on Tuesday, Ngcawuzele said he was deeply hurt by the recent attacks on his business.
“People expressed their disillusion by damaging my business and it hurt that they could turn against us in the manner they did, despite being someone who plays a vital role in my community.
“When they knock on my door needing help- be it with the burial of a family member or bursaries- I have been there for them,” he said.
Ngcawuzele stressed that: “protests are a basic right but destroying property was a criminal act.”
“After I have spoken to a group of the disgruntled protestors, I was satisfied to know that they had genuine grievances, but we agreed that their methods were uncalled for,” he said.
Sisanda Mangele, his daughter gave birth to the concept of ‘Mzoli Reloaded’ after realising that people were still scared to visit the area.
“Since Gugulethu is celebrating six decades of existence, we want Mzoli’s Place to be the centre of these celebrations,” she said.
Samora Nompunga of the Gugulethu Development Forum hailed Ngcawuzele for putting Gugulethu on the global map.
“Mzoli has a done a lot for the township and we should be celebrating him rather than destroying him.
“We are happy for this milestone and we hope that the Mzoli brand will keep on growing,” said Nompunga.
In his younger days, Ngcawuzele was regarded as “king of the road” when it came to long-distance running(see image, left). During this interview, he could not resist a snippet from the past, including the 1976 riots. “In 1976 Joe Siyalana and I fell victim of the permit system operating at the time ... We had refused to cooperate whit that system, and even though we were in our prime, could not take part in an athletics championships event held at the Green Point Stadium, because our names were not listed.
Siyalana and Ngcawuzele were detained for 10 weeks in the 1976 countrywide riots.