African dream (BBC) recently featured a story about Portia de Smidt, who run a restaurant with her husband in Cape Town. They started the business 20 years ago, just before the end of apartheid in South Africa.
Back then in 1992, the nature of their business was not popular. South Africans, at that time, were not excited about the idea of eating out in a restaurant that served only African meal.
“At the time, it was also considered much more chic in Cape Town to taste Italian or French cuisine.”
But they took the plunge anyway and established “Africa Café.” It was not an easy feat, as Portia recounts:
“We started in a recession and also people didn’t know African food before, so it was difficult to start something that people were not exposed to in the beginning – those were the lows”
Today, Africa Café is one of the popular restaurants in Cape Town. Their story is an inspiring one that teaches about having the courage to venture out, armed with business acumen.
Portia advice budding entrepreneurs: ‘You must do what you love. You mustn’t do what is gonna make you the most money… Money is a by-product of your first priority, which should be ‘I love what I do and I’m passionate about it’, and then from there whatever you dream, it will make people happy and more people will come and that’s how the money will come.”
African Dream is broadcast on the BBC Network Africa programme every Monday morning. Click here to read the full story or listen to the audio.