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Taking pride in indigenous food

Written by: Silisapho Nyanda

Siphamandla Manqele is passionate about organic food.Siphamandla Manqele (28) aims to see her company, Local Village Foods, connecting African countries through food. 

Manqele, a health enthusiast who is originally from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, said she wants to bring healthy eating back to South African homes and build a sense of pride amongst Africans about indigenous food.

“We are a Pan-African brand. We source African super foods, like grain, that are indigenous to the African continent,” she said.

Local Village Foods, which employs two people, sources only naturally grown food from small scale farmers across the continent. Its range includes grains, granola, raw African honey, gluten-free flour and porridge.

Manqele, who was selected as one of the Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans in 2019, in the business and entrepreneurship category also received assistance from the National Youth Development Agency to setup a stall at the Bryanston Organic and Natural Market where she sells her products.

“We source indigenous food from east Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa. We are trying to create a food company that connects people, using food as a vehicle.

“We want to ensure that we can achieve rural development in different parts of the continent,” she said.

Manqele aims to sell healthy food, that does not contain unhealthy chemicals. "Organic food is not only healthier, but cheaper too, as people can plant it themselves and create a value chain of entrepreneurs in rural areas," she said.