The throning of the Spinach King

Meet Cape Town’s health activist and businessman, Lufefe Nomjana, better known as The Spinach King. This 27 year-old man saw the need to incorporate spinach into the daily lives of Khayelitsha township residents, arguing that they do not have time to prepare meals at home and end up eating fast food, thus introducing Low GI Spinach bread. BRICS Journal had a chat with Nomjana about this innovative project.

BJ: Tell us the story behind Spinach King, where did it all start?
Lufefe Nomjana: The Spinach King started in 2011 as I was doing voluntary work at a community garden. That is where I saw a dire need for young entrepreneurs and sales intervention, as the garden was 70 % social and 30 % commercial before I volunteered.

I managed to transform the community garden from 70 % social to 60 % commercial in a space of three months using a door-to-door selling strategy. This strategy is one I applied in my first fashion retail business, where I bought from manufacturers and sold door-to-door.

After four months I fell in love with spinach because of its harvest turnaround period, as compared to other vegetables I planted in the garden (kale, broccoli, cabbage etc). I then decided to do more research and discovered that according to United States Department of Agriculture, one spinach leaf contains almost 13 phytochemicals such as syrengeric acids, kaempherols that boosts the metabolism system and prevents cardiovascular and other chronic illnesses.

That’s when I became passionate about changing the issue of health in Khayelitsha and the rest of the world. I sought to address this challenge by encouraging healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle and environmental health. I had a desire to start incorporating spinach in daily consumed products for the majority of people who hardly have enough time to eat and prepare their vegetables and end up eating fatty fast foods that shortens their lifespans.

BJ: Tell us about this special spinach project:
LN: After all the research and voluntary experience, I decided to incorporate spinach in bread – making the product and concept a truly unique one in South Africa. I looked at highly-consumed staple products such as muffins, burgers, rusks etc and infused spinach. After the conceptual phase – which lasted about 5-6 months – I googled: How To Bake The Best Bread in the World and a website called Breaducation popped up! This site taught me how to bake the best ordinary bread and I then experimented, taking out unhealthy ingredients i.e high sodium and high sugars. My first four LOW GI spinach loaves were made from a neighbour’s oven.

I started out with a capital of R40,00 ($2.50), four spinach bunches from the garden I used to volunteer at, and used my intellectual capital. I then baked from my neighbour overnight and sold door-to-door during the day until I exhausted my capacity (24 loaves a day).

BJ: How did you solve the issue of capacity?
LN: I approached the Spar franchise in Khayelitsha for spare oven capacity and also to sell from their stores while delivering door-to-door per by bicycle.

BJ: How many products are under the Spinach King brand?
LN: At the Spinach King Bakery Restaurant, we have the Low GI spinach bread (R 13.00 a loaf), the gluten-free spinach bread (R 20.00), spinach green burgers (R 20.00) and spinach green smoothies (R 15.00).

BJ: How would you measure the business’ growth since 2011?
LN: Spinach King is the solution that combats the socio-economic and health issues through healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, healthy environmental education and alternatives especially in limited-resourced environments such as the townships and rural areas. We are currently serving about 80 to 100 on Business-to-Business (supplying) and Business-to-Consumer walk-ins in our two Cape Town branches daily. The annual turnover is R 2.4 million.

BJ: What kind of feedback have you received from consumers?
LN: The customers have been very happy with our service, quality and growth levels and continue to support us.

BJ: What are your futures plans for the Spinach King brand?
LN: Spinach King’s ultimate plan is replication and expansion innovatively through impacting others – something we currently address through franchise sales. In 2016, the Spinach King sold the manufacturing rights and licence to the McFaden Bread company in Washington D.C. for a good value of money and 10% royalty agreement which commences in June 2017. We are also currently engaging with an entrepreneur in the Netherlands who will be signing a franchise contract to extend the business to those parts of the world. In Pietermaritzburg, we have sold a social franchise to an NPO as well.

Spinach King is based in Khayelitsha township (Cape Town) with two branches in Spine Road (next to Lookout Hill Tourist attraction Centre) and the second branch in the Khayelitsha Community Trust Mall.

SA ranked among top countries for FDI and remains an attractive investment destination

Johannesburg, Friday 21 April 2017 – Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s performance in the 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, as well as in the Africa Investment Index 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, Quantum Global Research Lab.

South Africa has made a comeback in the 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, and has been ranked as the fourth most attractive investment destination in Africa according to the latest Africa Investment Index 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, Quantum Global Research Lab published on Wednesday.

The Quantum Global report is constructed from macroeconomic and financial indicators and the World Bank Group’s Ease of Doing Business Indicators, and also averages the country’s macroeconomic and financial indicators rankings on the six different factors. The report advocates that South Africa received the number four ranking on the Index because it scored well on the growth factor of GDP, ease of doing business in the country and significant population.

Reflecting upon South Africa’s significant improvement, Brand South Africa’s CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela said, “As a nation, we are cognisant of the role of all South Africans in building the country’s reputation and competitiveness and these improvements emphasise that South Africa is a competent and competitive investment destination and that we are indeed open for business. This also reinforces perceptions about South Africans, from a range of other studies, as hardworking and resilient – despite recent challenges relating to credit downgrades.”

The 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index report said that while overall FDI flows to Africa decreased 5% in 2016 to an estimated $51 billion, South Africa bucked the overall regional trend, with UNCTAD estimating its FDI inflows increased 38% in 2016. South Africa made a comeback in the Index – rounding out the Index in the 25th spot. “This is likely as a result of improving short-term economic prospects and the long-term investment potential in the country’s manufacturing sector,” A.T. Kearney’s report said.

Known as the melting pot of diversity and inspiring new ways that have shaped the nations young democracy, this year – World Economic Forum on Africa will be held in South Africa under the theme ‘Driving economic transformation in Africa through inclusive growth models’ on 03 – 05 May 2017 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Commenting on this Dr Makhubela concluded: “As a global partner, South Africa commits to the stated objectives of this conference, and it is our hope that this platform will create an enabling environment where we can all share insights on how to better improve the current landscape and map out innovative tactics to accelerate inclusive growth while bringing about sustainable development in the future.”

Follow the conversation on #SANationBrand

This article first appeared on the Brand South Africa website.

[PHOTO ESSAY] Remembering Chris Hani

Today marks 24 years (10 April 1993) since the assassination of struggle stalwart Chris Hani. Born Martin Thembisile Hani, he was the leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).

Early last week, Chris Hani’s daughter, Lindiwe Hani released a book titles Being Chris Hani’s Daughter, in which she shares intimate recollections of the 12 years she spent with her father, also opening up about how his untimely death shook the Hani family.

We remember Chris Hani in pictures through some of the highlights in his life.

Secretary General of South African Communist Party (SACP) Chris Hani (L)
and former secretary general Joe Slovo (R) walk together in Soweto on
December 07, 1991. Photo: AFP Photo / Walter Dhladhla

Chris Hani inspect Mk soldiers at an MK rally held at Langa Stadium,Cape
Town,1991. Picture by

Chris Hani with President Jacob Zuma. Picture by @MsibiT01 on twitter.

April 1991. Thokoza, South Africa. Charismatic ANC military leader, Chris Hani, appeals to township supporters for an end to violence and to the factional killing, in the run up to first all-race elections.


A day forever engraved into the history of South Africa, Chris Hani’s funeral.

April 18, 1993. Soweto, South Africa. Guerillas of the ANC’s military wing, the M.K., carry the coffin of assassinated ANC military chief, Chris Hani, at his funeral


SA to welcome more international tourists

South Africa plans to increase its international tourists by five million in the next five years for the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s GDP.

The country recorded a record-breaking 10 million international tourists in 2016 but its contribution to the economy stands at about 3% and Tourism SA CEO Sisa Ntshona said this needs to change.

“The continent as a whole reported an 8% surge in international arrivals in 2016, with Sub-Saharan Africa increasing by 11% and South Africa by a massive 13%. These figures far exceed the global increase in international arrivals of 3.9% overall. So Africa is definitely the happening place to be, with vast untapped tourism potential that could buoy the greater African economy and contribute to its prosperity,” he said this at the launch of Tourism Indaba 2017 to be hosted in Durban in May.

Ntshona said their role is to get the message to the world that Africa’s tourism industry is open for business and ripe with possibility.

“Our continent is a value-for-money destination offering multiple incredible experiences that will take your breath away, from high-end luxury to bush-whacking fun,” Ntshona said.

On Tourism Indaba 2017, Ntshona said they expect 7 000 delegates from around the world to meet in Durban to grow the African tourism economy through constructive conversations and dynamic partnerships.

About 90 small tourism businesses would be hosted at the show to “be given valuable exposure as well as an exposure to pitch their offerings.”– emerging and existing enterprises that are at least 50% black-owned,” Ntshona said.

“They are drawn from each of South Africa’s nine provinces and we call them our Hidden Gems, because they are tucked-away treasures that only a select few know about.”

Thanks to a partnership between South African Tourism, the National Department of Tourism and the Southern African Tourism Services Association, these entrepreneurs will be given valuable exposure at INDABA as well as the opportunity to “pitch” their offerings to travel buyers during speed marketing sessions.

The Indaba, dubbed “Africa’s Top Travel” show is expected to attract exhibitors from about 15 African countries.

Head of Durban Tourism and Acting Deputy City Manager of eThekwini Philip Sithole  said despite the highly competitive tourism environment, Indaba has been able to maintain its position as the premier travel show on the African continent.

Anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada dies

Displayed with permission from Al Jazeera

Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who spent 26 years in jail – many of them alongside Nelson Mandela – for acts of sabotage against South Africa’s white minority government, died in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning at the age of 87.

He had been admitted to hospital with blood clotting in his brain earlier this month.

Kathrada was born on August 21, 1929, to Indian immigrant parents in a small town in northwestern South Africa.

He was among those tried and jailed alongside Mandela in the Rivonia trial in 1964, which drew worldwide attention and highlighted the brutal legal system under the apartheid regime.

Kathrada was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 and spent 26 years and three months in prison, 18 of which were on Robben Island.

After the end of apartheid, he served from 1994 and 1999 as parliamentary counsellor to President Mandela in the first African National Congress (ANC) government.

Al Jazeera’s Tania Page, reporting from Johannesburg, said that it was a sad day in South Africa – where Kathrada was affectionately known as “Uncle Kathy” – as tributes poured in about his widely perceived kindness, humility, and honesty.

He had been a major part of many South African’s memories over decades of anti-apartheid struggle, Page said.

“I think his passing is sort of signalling to South Africans, yet again, the ending of an era, of these great giants of apartheid [resistance] as they pass on,” she added.

Kathrada gave an emotional speech at Mandela’s funeral, in which he said he had lost a brother.

Kathrada was, until recently, still active in public life. He formed his own foundation, and advocated strongly for human rights causes such as youth development, anti-racism, and freedom of speech.

Last year, he joined a movement of veteran figures who were critical of the governing ANC and its current crop of leaders – particularly President Jacob Zuma, who has been mired in mounting allegations of corruption. Kathrada penned an open letter to the president and called on him to step down.

“Right to the very end he kept himself relevant, he was a newsmaker, he was honest and true to his values and his beliefs,” Page said. “And that’s why so many millions of South Africans will be very sad at his passing today.” INSIDE STORY: Will South Africa’s Jacob Zuma hang on to power? “This is a great loss to the ANC, the broader liberation movement and South Africa as a whole,” Neeshan Balton, head of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, said in a statement.

“‘Kathy’ was an inspiration to millions in different parts of the world.” Kathrada’s activism against the white-minority apartheid regime started at the age of 17, when he was one of 2,000 “passive resisters” arrested in 1946 for defying a law that discriminated against Indian South Africans.

In July 1963, the police swooped on Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, a Johannesburg suburb where Kathrada and other senior activists had been meeting in secret.

At the famous Rivonia trial, eight of the accused were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour on Robben Island.

His fellow prisoners included Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Denis Goldberg.

-Copy & images: Repubhub (Al Jazeera)

BRICS Journal TV: In Conversation with KZN MEC for Economic Development, Sihle Zikalala


In issue 3 of BRICS Journal, we chat KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala.

Foreign Nationals a priority as Marabastad Refugee Centre relaunches

President Jacob Zuma will undertake a return visit to Marabastad in Pretoria, to launch the revamped Marabastad Refugee Reception Office Renovation Project, on Friday 17 February 2017.

In the 2016 State of the Nation Address, President Zuma reported that he had visited the Home Affairs offices at Marabastad and had received complaints from foreign nationals about long queues and other difficulties at the centre. He made an undertaking that the matter would be followed up by the Department of Home Affairs, and indeed the Centre has been upgraded.

The challenges experienced at Marabastad included limited human resource capacity, slow information technology infrastructure, inadequate filing systems, poor management practices and a working environment not conducive for clients and staff. The centre was also marred by allegations of corruption, long queues, overcrowding and the presence of criminal syndicates.

The centre has been refurbished with new signage, counters and lighting, the installation of a new security system and electrical fencing. Other key interventions include the introduction of new systems and processes such as an automated booking system and paperless processes, off-site interpretation services, an improved registry and filing system and continuous engagement with stakeholders.

The President will first tour and attend the re-naming ceremony of the Marabastad Refugee Reception Centre and later give a keynote address at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria.

The details of the launch are as follows:

Date: Friday, 17 February 2017
Time: 10h00
Venue: Marabastad Refugee Reception Centre, Pretoria (Relaunch and Tour of the Centre)

Time: 11h00
Venue: Tshwane Events Centre, Pretoria (Formal programme)

Enquiries: Dr Bongani Ngqulunga 082 308 9373 or

New Delhi Through The Lense

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Location: New Delhi, India
Images: Allistair Lyne

BRICS Journal TV: In Conversation With Judi Nwokedi

BRICS Journal Executive Editor, Vuyo Dlamini caught up with Tourvest (Africa’s largest Integrated Tourism company) COO, Judi Nwokedi at the BRICS Trade Fair to talk about Medical Tourism and how technology will advance the health sector.

IDC plows R4.5bn into youth to encourage entrepreneurship

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) on Monday announced its decision to invest an amount of R4, 5 billion into the youth of the country over the next three years, in a bid to fight the ever-increasing unemployment rate.

Currently, youth unemployment in South Africa stands at 53.7%, down from an an-all time high of 54.50% in the first quarter of the year (according to Statistics South Africa).

IDC CEO, Geoffrey Qhena says that making the youth an active and integral part of the country’s economy has become the institution’s main priority, as they centre all strategies and actions around this agenda.

“What is urgently needed is a concerted, sustained effort to create an environment that produces jobs, allows young people to acquire skills and allows them to branch out on their own through entrepreneurship,” he said.

According to Qhena, who delivered an address at the IDC National Youth Enterprise Conference in Midrand last week, the IDC is in a favourable position to financially aid youth-owned enterprises that creates employment, because contrary to the positioning of the private commercial lending sector, it had ‘more appetite for risk’.

“It is no secret that access to funding is one of the major stumbling blocks for new businesses. Because of the IDC’s mandate of stimulating the economy, we are able to take a more patient approach and, within specific funding schemes, offer preferential lending rates compared with commercial banks,” he said.

– City Press; The Industrial Development Corporation