Eziko restaurant & catering school, Langa
Last Friday I met up with tour guides from Vamos Township tours (tours of Langa), Footsteps to Freedom (city walking tours), and the owners of The Township winery and Eziko restaurant and catering school.
The meeting place was the Eziko restaurant and I was surprised that it took only 25 minutes from Cape Town and was very easy to find as it is located on Washington drive which is one of the main roads running through Langa.
Victor Mgulqulwa, owner of Eziko restaurant welcomed everybody and while sampling some of the dishes created by chef David, afforded everybody the opportunity to introduce themselves and explain what they can offer our visitors.
Victor established Eziko catering school in 1996 as a means to provide skills to the youth in the area, to empower them to achieve a career in the catering and hospitality industry.
Successful candidates spend six months at Eziko and then a further six months working in a restaurant or hotel ktichen in Cape Town and so far they have a 80% success rate with students enjoying their new careers.
Funding is obtained from donations and profits generated by the Eziko restaurant, which is why Victor invited the Langa tour guides from Vamos as many are bringing their guests to Eziko for lunch or a cool drink at the end of the Langa walking tour.
I have been on a few township tours and certainly a big advocate for visitors including a visit to these areas and learning about community projects as part of their itinerary in Cape Town. It was refreshing to hear from the Vamos tour guides about the projects and families they are visiting during their walking tours and how many tourists are self-driving to Langa and taking a walking tour with one of these guides who are also Langa residents. So profits generated from the townships tours are going towards Langa residents. After two hours at a leisurely pace, visitors are in need of a cold drink and a break and Eziko restaurant is the perfect place to end your township tour. Eziko is Xhosa for hearth or fireplace. The hearth was the focus point in the home where family and friends gathered to share good food and conversation.
The guides are very happy to be open with visitors and explain aparteid, the history of Langa and discuss their Xhosa culture and traditions including male circumcision which occurs at 18 years of age. If you really want to learn about Xhosa traditions, then a half day township tour with Vamos in Langa is the way to go.
For visitors taking the afternoon half day township tour, you are likely to end up at the delightful project Happy Feet. An after care centre for children of all ages. On arrival at Happy Feet on Friday afternoon there were many excited children as there was a film crew preparing to make a music video of a Swiss singer – knowing they were about to be part of a movie they were only too delighted to show off some of their dancing skills to us.
Happy Feet, after school project in Langa
The little man who stole the show
I was equally surprised and excited to learn about the Township winery. It certainly made sense when I learned that Phillippi is rich in limestone soils and has the perfect climate. Two years ago I visited some farmers in Phillipi successfully growing organic vegetables to supply Cape Town. Currently the Phillipi Sauvignon Blanc is being made from grapes purchased from the Durbanville area until they consider their grapes are ready for wine making. It is very common for vineyards to make wines from locally grown and bought in grapes these days. Phillipi wines can be tasted and purchased at Eziko restaurant.
David (Chef of Eziko), Nomhle Zondani (Township Winery), & Victor Mguqulwa (owner of Eziko)
If you don’t have a rental car, Vamos tour guides can easily collect you from your hotel in Cape Town. For visitors with an interest in the history of Cape Town, there is a full day combination tour with a city walking tour in the morning, followed by and afternoon township tour.
Siviwe, Vamos Tour guide in Langa handed out treats at Happy Feet
Vamos Township tours www.vamos.co.za
Eziko restaurant and catering school www.ezikorestaurant.co.za
Footsteps to Freedom city walking tours www.footstepstofreedom.co.za
The Township Winery www.townshipwinery.com