Every artist has their own mode of expression to create their work and elicit a feeling, and for Thobile Sibeko, that creativity happens in the kitchen. She works with food to tantalise taste buds. She has chosen to specialise in making wraps, a business her community appreciates as something outside their norm. Tobs Wraps is based in Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni. While Sibeko opened her business in 2020, her love for cooking goes back to when she was in primary school.
She recalls how her first unforgettable meal propelled her into the art of food-making, which she says not only makes her happy but her family too. “When I was in primary school, my father took me to a restaurant where we had mushroom soup and creamy spinach as the vegetable of choice,” she told Vutivi News. “It was the first time I had creamy spinach, and yet it painted itself on my memory so vividly that I got home and tried it.
“Once I became successful at it, I took to cooking as something I would do every Sunday for my family ever since then,” Sibeko said that the menu’s variety illustrated her creative nature in the kitchen. She serves chicken, sweet chilli pork, beef, bacon and cheese, boerewors, and fish wraps. They come with a side order of either fried onions or chips. She also serves other dishes like pork chops and chicken portions.
Sibeko said that the idea behind starting Tobs Wraps was born during the listeriosis outbreak in 2018. “The outbreak was disheartening because most of the food that was contaminated was the type of food that township establishments like kotas used in their dishes,” she said. “This also exposed the realisation that the food we are exposed to in townships was not of good quality, and I wanted to change that by introducing something that was both affordable and of good quality.”
Sibeko used R7000 from her husband to start her business. She told Vutivi News that when she opened her business, residents in her township were frustrated because they were tired of cooking all the time. “The reception was amazing. and the business quickly became popular,” Sibeko said. She started off operating from a shop, but because of the hard lockdown and people not being able to go to the location, she had to relocate to her mother’s house where there was space for her to operate.
During this time, she was a victim of theft and burglary, but that did not discourage her. Instead, she changed tact and registered with a local delivery service, and her business boomed. “In the first week of working with the company, we were informed that our business was the highest performing business on the platform,” she said. And these days Tobs Wraps can be found at a variety of local events in Vosloorus.
Sibeko has big dreams for her business. “I want to become one of the biggest franchises that compete with more established fast food outlets,” she said.