By Sizakele Nduli
Environmental health and safety manager Philisiwe Sigcawu started selling tripe from the balcony of her home in 2020 because she was afraid that she might lose her job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 34-year-old told Vutivi News that she felt uneasy at the thought of being unable to meet her financial obligations as the breadwinner. “I had a job, but during COVID-19, nothing was guaranteed when some industries were closing down and companies were retrenching,” she said. “I saw a gap. Such food and meat is not the kind of meat you can get at any retail store.”
In 2021, Sigcawu incorporated cooking traditional food into her weekend business and has now established Shangoni Foods. It is a kitchen and butchery business that currently has two employees for daily operations in Boksburg, Gauteng. “I am a self-taught chef. My grandparents, mom, and aunt played a huge role in grooming me in the kitchen,” Sigcawu said, adding that one of her goals was to become a qualified chef.
Her most popular meat is sheep head because of its distinct taste, texture, and the way it is prepared in the villages, particularly in the Eastern Cape, where she grew up. “When one eats it, it takes them straight home. Also, the fact that I clean them makes it more popular,” she added. While her business has achieved several successes, such as receiving positive reviews, opening a kitchen and butchery, and partnering with Uber Eats, it has not been plain sailing. “People will order fresh meat and not pitch for collection. I then implemented an upfront payment method, which helped me not have a loss on fresh meat,” she said.
Sigcawu hopes to secure funding to expand her kitchen and butchery business. “For opening this space, I did not have funding. I used some savings from my bond and money from the sales that I have been making. I do hope to get funding one of these days so that I can expand because there is a lot that still needs to be done in-store,” she said.
Sigcawu caters to individuals and small and medium events. Her fresh meat options include chicken, beef, lamb, mutton, and pork. Her traditional plate consists of a wide selection of meat, such as tripe, sheep’s head, hardbody chicken, ox head, and stew. They are all served with classic sides such as pap, samp, dumplings, and chakalaka, as well as spinach or cabbage. Click on the link to visit their website: shangonifoods.co.za.