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Cafe Culture In Masiphumelele

by Megan Diener in January 2013 - Business Circle

Click here to read this article in Xhosa.

It’s 6am and Nomvuyo ‘Nonny’ Mayekiso has started baking. By 7am, the smell of freshly-baked biscuits, cakes and muffins soon brings customers on their way to work to her café on Masiphumele’s bustling Main Road. A while later, the Masiphumelele mamas come to chat and see what she has baked today.

Nonny’s Bakery & Café opened in September 2012. Now five months later, Nonny is the only baker in Masiphumelele offering scrumptious eats to be had with your choice of tea, coffee, lemon cordial or ginger beer, while sitting out side café-style, watching the world go by. A ‘surprise different speciality cake of the day’ appears regularly on the menu to tantalise the taste buds. Everything sold - except the bread bought from the Five Loaves Bakery - is baked on the premises by Nonny and her team.

Nonny’s Bakery is a great place for residents and visitors alike to meet with delicious food at reasonable prices. Nonny has started a café culture in Masiphumelele. Her command of seven languages, brought about by her travels throughout South Africa, is a huge plus when it comes to conversing with her multi-cultural clientèle.

When asked what language she dreams in, Nonny replies “no specific one” but they are powerful in their message. Three years after her brother’s death she had a dream. “You can make money from this. You can bake for the rest of your life and be a millionaire,” he said smiling, whilst she kneaded a bucket of dough. These words resonated with her.

Nonny’s love of baking was inspired by her grandmother in her home town, Koffiefontein in the Free State. After matriculating, she worked at various commercial outlets, gaining experience, before going to catering college in Johannesburg. She relocated to Cape Town and after six years working at an in-store bakery, she decided to try her hand at nursing and home care. But her passion still lay with baking. It was at this time that Nonny met Wendy Davies and a relationship began that was to go places.

Nonny has faced many challenges starting her own business. She applied at numerous organisations without success until she came across business assistance from Masiphumelele Corporation (Masicorp). Wendy – together with a friend, Damian J. Conway - offered to be her
business mentors and together they took it from there.

Nonny has received support from many friends and Masicorp volunteers. Donations, both financial and equipment, have been received, making it possible for her dream to become a reality. Builder, Gavin Webb and handy woman, Claire Robertson oversaw the threeweek refurbishment of the container Nonny works from and landscaping support has come from Longman’s and Greencube Nurseries. Nick Mitchell of The Easy Dig Café is donating a table and chairs for the café area.

With all this in place, Nonny’s Bakery is already going places and her clientèle for orders is growing day by day. Nonny has big plans for the next five years. She would like to start a separate catering service for special occasions and children’s parties, while training local women and children to bake.

Nonny also dreams of franchising her bakery in other local communities. “And we know what happens when Nonny has a dream!” says Wendy.

To order a cake for a special occasion or just some cupcakes, please contact Nonny on 083 2041846.

Masiphumelele Corporation has over 12 years’ experience assisting people to help themselves. Their work is exclusively in and for the people of the township and focuses primarily on education. For more information or to volunteer in either the education or enterprise programmes contact Andrew Smith on



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