Than­dazani finds her true pas­sion

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO CITY BEAT - Welling­ton Mak­wakwa

Cre­at­ing mouth­wa­ter­ing food dishes is a gift which found Than­dazani Nosipho Zulu (21) by chance.

When she started sell­ing muffins at the univer­sity cam­pus to pay for rent and gro­ceries, many laughed and made jokes about her hus­tle.

At the time this young wo­man from the ru­ral heart of Kwala­mula in the KwaM­thethwa Re­serve had just ar­rived at univer­sity, fac­ing the strug­gles of be­ing raised by a sin­gle mother and grand­mother. Fac­ing the harsh re­al­ity of adult­hood with only R300 in her pocket from her grand­mother, she had to find a way to sur­vive. With no culi­nary skills or train­ing, she used the money to buy in­gre­di­ents to bake her first tray muffins. De­ter­mined to make it a suc­cess, she stood at cam­pus corners and cor­ri­dors, some­thing frowned upon by her fel­low stu­dents. ‘I made R1 000 from that sale and was able to pay for my rent at the com­mune and food items. I couldn’t be­lieve the idea had worked,’ she said.

Through all the laugh­ter and in­sults, this brave young wo­man con­tin­ued with her busi­ness and started sell­ing her baked goods to po­lice of­fi­cers work­ing at a nearby sta­tion.

No one could have imag­ined sell­ing muffins would soon be­come a lu­cra­tive busi­ness and she be­lieves she will one day be named among the top emerg­ing chefs in the prov­ince.

‘Within a year I could see peo­ple loved my food. I then in­tro­duced some other items on the menu.

‘I soon or­gan­ised my­self a mo­bile trol­ley to be able to move around, at the same time jug­gling the de­mands of my stud­ies.

‘It was dif­fi­cult. I stayed at the com­mune with other stu­dents and some­times had to wait for all of them to fin­ish cook­ing be­fore I could use the stove. ‘I spent nights just bak­ing, but soon my hard work paid off when the in­sti­tu­tion started plac­ing orders for their func­tions.

‘As the busi­ness grew, I still had to mon­i­tor it and en­sure I reached my tar­get for rent and food,’ she said.

‘Food by the gift’

This third year busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion stu­dent at the Univer­sity of KZN in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg not only turned her strug­gle into suc­cess, she is also liv­ing tes­ti­mony that hard work pays.

She soon in­tro­duced the con­cept Food by the gift, invit­ing food lovers to share meals while en­gag­ing in con­ver­sa­tion.

The con­cept has since grown into one of the biggest food ini­tia­tives in KZN.

‘This gave me a plat­form to tap into big­ger busi­nesses.

‘I love food and be­ing in a kitchen. I have a pas­sion for cre­at­ing some­thing new and al­ways want to put my own twist on tra­di­tional foods.

‘I al­ways say the food in­dus­try found me be­cause it took me from be­ing broke at univer­sity to re­alise what my real pas­sion was.

‘I ap­pre­ci­ate my grand­mother’s sup­port and some of the kitchen skills she taught me when I was a young girl, even though back then I never liked cook­ing,’ she jok­ingly said.

Although Than­dazani’s food busi­ness has taken off, she be­lieves it’s just the be­gin­ning.

She wants to even­tu­ally open her own restau­rant back home and in­tro­duce her own food style, as well as writ­ing a book with her own recipes.

‘I am in­spired by many things and want to do more. I want to con­tinue the tra­di­tion of cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for food and con­ver­sa­tion. Per­haps one day I’ll have a guest­house where peo­ple can come and en­joy good food.’

Than­dazani said she would use her busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion qual­i­fi­ca­tion to grow her­self and the busi­ness, as well as cre­ate a plat­form for as­pir­ing chefs.

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