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Thabo Shanga

Afro-Boer introduces team member Thabo Shanga - he carries a certain African Heritage with him, and he has had a lot of journey on many small footpaths… The first day I worked a hard shift with Thabo I went to check if he was still alive - knowing how the onslaught of a sudden change of slow to busy-without-end environment in an establishment can annihilate all your senses and thinking… He answered to my question of if he is till ok: “I can do with a boerie now… and an ice cold beer…”! I knew he was our kind of man with a story and a walk…

Growing up in KZN - rural Durban, Umkomaas side, walking daily in The Valley of 1000 Hills, there Thabo grew up. Born at the house his parents owned, he spent his childhood years with his family, all 13 of them, in a four-bedroomed house. Through the teenage years he was sent to Umlaas, where he stayed with his cousins, so that schooling could become a priority and that he could be shielded from the then current political IFP/ANC factions. As a young adult, his father had already passed away, he moved with his mother into a two-bedroomed house where he stayed for the next 25 years - until his calling came to hesitantly move to Mamelodi East with wife and 5 boys, 1 daughter, and now 1 granddaughter. Having been a witness to the tragedy that follows you around in your heart when losing a son, and more recently a granddaughter, Thabo teaches life lessons to his off-spring… more diligently now, a lot about responsibility… ”

…I think if we can teach then anything valuable currently, we need to teach our children responsibility…”

1. “ It can give you direction towards business, future goals, and self-worth “

2. “ The community around you are better taken care of - and what’s around you is also your family’s responsibility towards re-investing into each others lives “

3. “ It is educational, laying down your own rules and goals, and being responsible for yourself “

”…This brings along harmony - in a house there is harmony when everyone is living responsibly, packing away their shoes for example, and the schoolbag that was thrown the other side of the bed to be left until Monday morning…”

Chef, former pub owner, part-time carwash dealer owner, door-to-door vetkoek seller, Barista, Floor Manager @Afro-Boer, Spaza Shoppe Food Store member, Thabo has seen so many things in his life… I ask him about politics, he says: “I met a guy called Martin once, he worked for Coca Cola as their Graffiti artist.” “ He said “ if you align yourself with religion, politics are no good for you…” “ Faith… we can work to stand together, build a substance for faith, no-on will do it but us ourselves…”

“ The Afrikaner, Indian, Zulu, Colored People at school, I’ve come to learn things about them I never knew… Now that I’m here I hear less of people moving away, even though its none of my business, I still think there is less people that really want to go away from this country ” “ I used to love reading newspapers, cellphones have now replaced newspapers…” “ …we don't check our phones for the news, we also don't learn about our people on our cellphones…” “ These days there is new inhabitants in our country that have no history here really, i am concerned about that…” “ They bring along things that are so strange to us… behaviours and habits, it is alarming… “ “ I don't blame anyone, they are good people, but I am not learning from them…”

“ I still dream of a better future for all the people that live in this country… “ “ If I was to retire really rich, I’d buy a farm in the Free State, walk in the grass with the cows, and in the plantations between the cabbages and pumpkins.” “ Mom still lives in rural Durban, in the house, and with the chicken, cows, goats, and now a dog she got last Christmas!

“ Apart from all his loves for heritage flavours ranging from wine, to beer, to street-food to pasta, Thabo has a true heart for understanding coffee. It is often, early morning, that we philosophise about the meaning of sentiment and food and the memories certain flavors evoke.

Ask Thabo about coffee… and he says: “ Coffee is love “ “ and everything else…” “ early, late, all moods, and all heart “ “ in fact, if you do not present your made coffee with heart, you risk it biting back at you “ “ make it with your heart, and it reaches the heart of the customer “

… and more truly, the heart of Africa…

Ps. Here is Thabo's Peri-Peri recipe - perfect accompaniment for any dish, if you are a lover of chilli!

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