Coffee served with a dash of empowerment in Khayelitsha

Posted on August 11th, 2014
Coffee served with a dash of empowerment in Khayelitsha
Three entrepreneurs are leading by example in the poverty-stricken community of Khayelitsha, Cape Town.  The co-owners and coffee baristas at Department of Coffee (DOC), the township-based and black-owned coffee shop in Khayelitsha are currently engaged in an empowering and skills training drive at their busy coffee shop in the township, where they teach eager volunteers how to prepare good coffee and to become entrepreneurs themselves.

According to GroundUp – a township-based community journalism project – one of the DOC owners, Wongama Baleni said the main aim is to train youngsters to open pop-up food and beverage shops in future, “so we are contributing by equipping them with skills of how to make coffee, how to start a business, and how to run a business. “This is not about creating employment, but it’s about entrepreneurship. We have 11 trainees, some are at the Khayelitsha shop, some at our pop-up shop in Long Street, and others at our coffee shop in Observatory,” said Baleni

Read Also: Cape Town offers SMEs support in Khayelitsha

Volunteerism spirit 

Baleni said some [unemployed youths] would even offer sweeping or cleaning the shop. He said this made them see a need to start training young people because so many of them would come to the coffee shop to ask if there were any vacancies.

“We then came up with the idea of training people because it would not only help them but us as well. So together with Connect, a non-profit community development project, we started training volunteers,” he said.

One of the new volunteers at DOC, 19-year-old Phozisa Veto, says she is enjoying the experience. Veto joined DOC after her plans to further her studies either in accounting or journalism failed because she didn’t pass matric.

“I started two weeks ago and I prepare coffee for the customers. I’ve never done anything like this before and I am enjoying it, it is amazing.”

Department of Coffee opens new branches [GroundUp]