Meet Abigail Mbalo, founder and creative director of 4Roomed eKasi Culture. She’s a trained dental technologist by profession with a career spanning 17 years that took her into the hallowed halls of academia, the military, a state dental lab and a private laboratory. Abigail swapped her laboratory coat to follow a passion for food, art and home décor design culminating in the birth of her company 4Roomed eKasi Culture. All of this happened after she competed on Master Chef S.A, season 3.
Q & A with Abigail
Question: Tell us about 4Roomed eKasi Culture.
Answer: It’s my mission to get Khayelitsha and other townships on the tourism map in a bid to improve the socio-economic conditions challenging residents. I do this by promoting and highlighting the benefits of traditional foods with a healthier twist through my company’s CSR project on backyard gardening. I opened 4Roomed eKasi Culture (@4roomedekasiculture), comprising a casual restaurant and takeaway outlet, a pop-up fine dining experience and a food truck. It’s drawing international tourists and homesick suburbanites to the province’s biggest township for our take on traditional cuisine.
Question: What do you want to see happen at this conference, and in the future?
Answer: I’m passionate about the business side of things as a self-taught entrepreneur and hope to inspire and encourage others who want to give it a go. My business concept stems from the eKasi four-roomed homes of yesteryear, in which houses in the country’s oldest townships comprised a kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms. A narrative of a life lived in these 4Roomed homes is shared with guests to bring about an understanding of how the townships have evolved over time from backyard gardening to Ubuntu that was shared by neighbours. I try to immerse the “local tourist”, those who have left home to be close to the places of work in city, on a nostalgic journey when they dine with us.
Question: What would you like people to know about you and your work?
Answer: I’m moved with the various and diverse cultures that have influenced township cuisine and try to encourage a cohesion of cultures by including meals inspired by the influences of other cultures in these marginalized peripheries of our cities.