More than just coffee

Patrick Ne, manager of Jou Ma se Kombuis, says the shop is more than just a place to sit and drink coffee. PHOTO: Earl Haupt
Patrick Ne, manager of Jou Ma se Kombuis, says the shop is more than just a place to sit and drink coffee. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

For Patrick Nel, running Jou Ma se Kombuis stretches beyond providing locals with a hot brew of Manenberg’s finest roast.

Nel, through Fusion Manenberg, hopes to effect change through Jou Ma se Kombuis by providing a safe and free space for those who seek redemption and reconciliation.

“We walk alongside broken young people who want to break free from a life of destruction, drugs and gangsterism. Within the organisation we have different projects that seek to address different aspects of a person being healed as a whole,” says Nel.

Jou Ma se Kombuis is the only coffee shop in Manenberg that offers freshly ground coffee, hot breakfast, lunch and a variety of freshly-baked cakes and muffins. They will be having an event on Saturday to relaunch the shop, where special events will see a fundraising element attached to them. They have been conducting a pop-up service in the heart of Manenberg in the lead up to the event.

“As the day will be filled with activity, a variety of locals will showcase their talents. We will also have a gatsby-eating competition and also would love to invite local crafters who will have the opportunity to display and sell their goods. We are inviting all people, especially from Manenberg, to come and enjoy this day with us,” says Nel.

Apart from the launch, Nel says Jou Ma se Kombuis is a space for residents to come and relax. But more importantly, supporting the business will influence the development of the youth and change the negative image Manenberg currently has.

Shihaam Heynes is one of the young people in Manenberg who have changed her life through Jou Ma se Kombuis after graduating from Tree of Life in 2011. Heynes is now the kitchen supervisor and bakes cakes and does catering, including weddings.

"I was on tik and mandrax, but now I have been clean for five years. Three years ago I went on a baking course before Jou Ma se Kombuis existed and the baking has changed me entirely,” Heynes says. She is looking forward to having Manenberg residents visit Jou Ma se Kombuis more often.

“There isn’t a coffee culture in Manenberg, so our dreams and our hopes are for people to come into this place and get into the rhythm of having a coffee, sitting like family and having a nice time without being in a place where they drink alcohol and stuff like that. We are trying to create a coffee culture where people can take that R20 which they use for drugs; they can buy a good coffee. We are trying to get those habits into them,” adds Heynes. 

Nel elaborates on the subsidiary programme run out of Jou Ma se Kombuis. “We have another programme, LOL(Love out Loud),and they work with a child which has been identified. We offer training and outside interventions for them on a Thursday. You have a group of laaities who are interested in hospitality or interested in coffee or just interested in the workshop that we offer,” explains Nel. 

A coffee machine is set up to teach young people the skills required to be a barista, while Heynes conducts baking workshops in the kitchen. 

“I am a chef, so I focus on the cooking. Those are all options the schools can tap into if they enquire. There are opportunities linked to what we do. 

“However, our core focus is the guy who is on the streets who has been labelled,who has had doors closed on him. This is the guy who has broken into your house. This is the guy who is running down the street who shot a couple of bullets. This is the guy who smokes up a cloud. This is the guy you normally don’t want to be associated with. But those are the guys whom we exist for. We offer them an alternative and they have to choose to be part of it,” says Nel. 

Nel speaks of one of the more heart-warming stories where redemption was found within the walls of Jou Ma se Kombuis. 

“We had an event; [we were] busy serving people and one of the residents walked in and identified our guy as one of the people he had had a run-in with who still owes him money. 

“The moment and this space allowed for a story of reconciliation where this person’s life could be redeemed through the choice he has made, but also to have an impact in the wider community. 

“The one thing that we do believe is that when they change, they will become the people who will bring change within this community and they will have an impact on another person’s life and so the cycle continues. For us it is about creating that safe space for this person to be redeemed and to be reconciled back into this community with a new identity."

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