Khayelitsha’s Department of Coffee

Posted on 31 July 2012

Take a sip of the latté from Khayelitsha’s first coffee shop and shut your eyes.

That’s right. It’s that good. You’re transported to the coolest café in Cape Town where you’ll find a hipster on your left, a schmodel on your right, a pile of fashion mags in between and – oh, bugger that. Open your eyes. Take it all in: the umfazi, the skinny mutt, the indoda endala and the intombi with the big butt. There’s a display of hair extensions that rivals the starting gate of the J&B Met and a train that stirs up last month’s headlines, rolling under a bridge with more spaza shops than the Ponte Vecchio.

But here at the train station on Ntlazane Street, the coffee is as good as any on Kloof Street and the people are more interesting: no posers; no prams; no ‘puppehs’ or ‘bebehs’ – but plenty of umfaans who can walk before they can cry. Best of all: no bloggers dreaming up reviews for coffee. These folk actually have stories to tell. So, buy another cup, it’s ridiculous at fifty cents and eight bucks. Sit down, big tipper, and have a listen to their yarn, it’s got a kicker ending, like the coffee.

The best story here? Three young lads from Town Two – ‘Silvertown’ – Wongama Baleni, Vuyile Msaku and Vusumzi Mamil who gave up steady jobs to follow one dream: Department of Coffee. And now it’s brewing.

A pilot project of Ministry of Service Delivery, an organisation that helps entrepreneurs develop their own viable businesses, Department of Coffee is part of the changing face of Khayelitsha. Thanks to them, the VPUU ((Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading) and their collaboration with the community, Khayelitsha is becoming a safer, better place to live, work and learn.

Wongama, Vuyile and Vusumzi have big plans for the Department, but you’ve got to hear it from them in their own sparkling ‘Silvertown’ patois. Get down here and taste it. A day later and you’ll be back in a café on Kloof fingering a fashion mag; there’ll be a hipster on your left and a schmodel on your right. Then you’ll take a sip of that latté, and shut your eyes….

Opened 2 July 2012, Department of Coffee can be found in the VPUU building opposite the train station on Ntlazane Street, Harare, Khayelitsha.








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