Surprise engagement at graduation

Console Nkuna and Mashau Mabunda from Table View got engaged at the Makers Landing incubation programme graduation.

Food destination Maker’s Landing at the V&A Waterfront had lots to celebrate on Friday December 9 – its second birthday; the graduation of the forth cohort from the incubation programme, and the surprise engagement of one of the graduates.

Seven small business owners graduated from the programme on Friday, bringing the total of graduates since Makers’ Landing’s opening in 2020 to 27.

The group participated in the five-month training programme, which offers opportunities to start-ups and small food businesses that need mentorship, training and access to a licensed commercial kitchen space.

The course content, which was developed by Stellenbosch University’s LaunchLab and industry experts, combines online learning, classroom sessions, industry experts and the use of the Makers Landing’s commercial kitchen. It focused on laying solid business foundations, providing entrepreneurs with tools for success, and working purposefully towards their business goals.

The graduates each received a certificate and a custom-made plate embossed with the business’s name.

Console Nkuna gets down on one knee, while Mashau Mabunda cries happy tears.

However, graduate Mashau Mabunda from Table View received something extra special when her boyfriend of seven months, Console Nkuna, professed his love for her, and then got down on one knee.

A shocked Ms Mabunda said “yes” through a stream of happy tears.

“I didn’t expect this. I was scared but it was so beautiful!”

Originally from Mpumalanga, Ms Mabunda brought her Tsonga heritage to Cape Town and started Xigugu Royalty. The business makes xigugu – a snack made from roasted ground corn and peanuts.

The couple dated long distance because of the programme.

“We were actually friends for over a year and he spent a lot of time with me. One day, he made me eggs, and they were delicious.”

She said she started developing feelings for Mr Nguna and was happy to discover that he felt the same.

“He arrived from Mpumalanga earlier this month with a black backpack, and every time I touched the bag, he would take it from me, but now I understand why.”

Mr Nguna said he should have proposed a long time ago but it was fitting that he did it at the graduation because training “kept them apart for a long time, and they survived”.

Emotions ran high for the other graduates too.

Ilhaam Banoobhai- Anwar, lecturer at the Cape Town Hotel School with her former students and incubator graduates, Buntu Mlungisi and Kabelo-Luhle Tala, from Observatory, and Kashif Anwar.

They were Crust Almighty’s Kabelo-Luhle Tala and Buntu Mlungis from Observatory ; Luyanda Sogiba from Nyanga, owner of Lish Foods; Kasi Ocean by Snandz’s owner Nandipha Budaza from Langa; Nande’s Kitchen owner Aneeqah Sadan from Langa; and Mini Treats by Naj owner Najwaa Samie from Belhar.

Kabelo- Luhle Tala from Observatory, and Buntu Mlungisi, from Nyanga, make gourmet sandwiches. The business partners said they learnt to take constructive criticism.

“At first, we wouldn’t take any advice and just did what we wanted to do, but we’ve learned that we can learn and grow with the help of others.”

The team from Wynburger are Mariam de Beer from Crawford, owner Sameer Omer from Wynberg and Saadiq Fredericks from Schaapkraal.

Sameer Omer from Wynberg owns the Wynburger. Mr Omer is a skater and chef and makes burgers with fritters for buns – an idea conjured up while he had a craving for burgers and broke his fast one year with pumpkin fritters.

“Joining Makers Landing, I’ve learnt to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve also learnt costing and prioritising my time.”

Nandipha Budaza from Langa

Nandipha Budaza; from Langa, owns Kasi Ocean, a snoek braai business. She said she got the idea because Langa’s street braais didn’t have a fish option. At the prograame she learned the importance of costing and how to conduct a profitable business.

Luyanda Sogiba from Nyanga also graduated

Manager at Makers Landing Angelique Smith congratulated the graduates.

“The melting pot of culture and the personality is what makes this (programme) beautiful and the sense of community that came from this is amazing.

Nini Treats by Naj owner Najwaa Samie from Belhar

“There is real growth and revenue that come from this. You’ve done the work and made it through, and now it is time to celebrate.”

Senior Manager for social impact and food ecosystem head at the Waterfront Henry Mathys said creating a seat at the table and a space where local food can thrive was always at the heart of Makers Landing.

To the graduates, he said: “The incubator programme gave you the tools but it is up to you to take it to the next phase. We are celebrating you today, and celebrating all who came before you.”

  • Applications are open for the next intake of the incubation programme. Makers Landing is specifically looking for early-stage entrepreneurs (start-up, aspirant and grassroots) with limited access to resources, in the packaged foods, food service and catering industries. Anyone with talent and a hunger to develop their small businesses should apply.

There isn’t a specific age limit but applicants must be resident in South Africa.

To apply visit