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He’s known as the Gugs Tycoon for having put the Cape Town township of Gugulethu on the map and a visit to businessman Mzoli Ngcawuzele’s eatery simply called Mzoli’s Meat becomes clear as to why he has achieved such success. Back in 2003, Mzoli came up with the concept of a butchery-slash-street diner in his local township. His spiced meat was sold over the counter to operators who would in turn prepare the meat over open fires while patrons brought their own drinks (and utensils) to enjoy a meal in a party atmosphere. Mzoli’s had become a weekend meeting place for any and everybody in the township. Over the years, Mzoli’s grew in popularity and today it’s on the tourism route, a dining stop on most Cape Town day trip itineraries. Varsity students looking for a good time head to Mzoli’s over the weekend while in the week, expect to see people from all walks of life, including major international and national celebs.
The Zulu saying for burning meat is Shisa Nyama and while this concept is not new, the process involved in delivering the meal at Mzoli’s is definitely unique. This is not a place for vegetarians; however, they can still enjoy the festive vibe. Mzoli’s does not have a liquor licence and patrons are required to purchase drinks from the shebeen (bar) alongside or bring their own.
Mzoli’s is more than a restaurant; it gives visitors the opportunity to experience township life, interact with the locals in a relaxed, party atmosphere and enjoy a meal that is almost a staple in most townships throughout South Africa.
Mzoli himself has since moved on to bigger things but his eatery continues to flourish and help bring tourism to the people.