Stellenbosch Township and Village (T & V), an initiative that welcomes visitors into the townships and villages around Stellenbosch for a memorable and immersive tourism experience, has unearthed some true entrepreneurial gems in the bustling community of Kayamandi.
Here are just three of our favourites:
1. Gcigci’s Hair Salon
Gcinikhaya Menze’s hair salon (or ‘saloon’ as it is locally known) attracts customers from throughout Kayamandi, as well as neighbouring Cloetesville, Stellenbosch and surrounds. Visitors from around Africa pop in when they’re in Cape Town – testament to Gcigci’s larger-than-life personality, reputation and incredible talent.
Hair and beauty are big business in Kayamandi and Gcigci is a master of weaves, relaxes and a multitude of uniquely African hairstyles. He also runs a great trade in hair accessories and products.
But with plenty of competition in Kayamandi in the form of informal hairdressers and barbers, what makes Gcigci’s Hair Salon one of our favourite entrepreneurial gems?
He’s taken his 20-years-plus experience to create a township salon experience like no other. Clients come to enjoy a drink, music, great conversation – and one of the warmest welcomes around. He has employed two permanent staff members, continues to mentor stylists and is passionate about supporting life, growth and community in Kayamandi.
Now a popular stop on STV’s Kayamandi on Foot tour, Gcigci’s Hair Salon is definitely worth a visit.
2. The Mashugu Shop
An authentic spaza shop is a must on any township tour, and they don’t get better than The Mashugu Shop. A spaza shop is a general dealer or ‘mini-market’ that offers an impressively wide range of goods and daily essentials.
The Mashugu Shop is locally-owned and run by a Kayamandi resident, who keeps his shelves stocked with just about anything! Tourists love to make a stop at the Mashugu Cash Store for a drink or a snack – and quirky photographs in a traditional South Africa spaza shop.
3. Kasilam Wear
You can’t leave Kayamandi without a personalised ‘I Love Kayamandi’ cap, t-shirt or hoodie.
One of Kayamandi’s (even Cape Town’s) top entrepreneurial gems, Kasilam Wear was founded by Samkela Mhlakaza & Esethu Bangaza, young entrepreneurs, who saw an opportunity to produce custom-printed apparel in the heart of Kayamandi.
Meaning ‘my place’ or ‘my township’, Kasilam Wear has quickly become synonymous with Kayamandi. It is known as ‘the people’s brand’. Visitors can select from a great range of ready-made items, or can order and shop online by personalising their messages – for delivery anywhere in South Africa.
Why does it get our nod for one of Kayamandi’s most notable gems? Samkela Mhlakaza & Esethu Bangaza managed to take a simple idea and turn it into a way of building community spirit, instilling a sense of pride and achievement in the residents of Kayamandi – and capturing the imaginations of locals and visitors alike.