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Sebola sauces bring lots of zing to food, lifestyle

Londiwe Dlomo Journalist
Chef and businessman Tiisetso Sebola.
Chef and businessman Tiisetso Sebola.
Image: Supplied

Thank goodness people have moved on from mustard and tomato sauce, the humble condiments which for decades had been responsible for so much flavour in our food.

These days however selection is tantalisingly wide - an rare flavoured butters and fresh homemade, preservative free sauces are no longer the coveted secrets of chefs and foodies.

You can thank people like Tiisetso Sebola for bringing such flavours. The young entrepreneur worked in the hospitality industry until the coronavirus pandemic halted the sector.

Sebola is the owner of Lapa Artisan Condiments, in Cape Town. The 23-year-old is a chef by profession and he has used his skill to start a new business, owing as well to hardship the virus visited upon his livelihood. He says response to Lapa, which means home in Sotho, has been phenomenal.

"Everyone is enjoying [the sauces]. I'm really grateful to the customers. We do have a few regular customers that order every one to two weeks, it's growing and everything has been so positive. I really appreciate all the customers. Even people who don't order regularly have been great, they encourage me and give positive feedback. It's great."

Some of Sebola's sauces are packaged in reusable jars.
Some of Sebola's sauces are packaged in reusable jars.
Image: Supplied

The Limpopo-born Sebola's sauces sell from R55 to R75, and include flavours such as Green Chili and Spring Onion, Smoked Peppa Ketchup, Seet and Spicy, and Hot Sauce.

The condiments come in glass jars that you can recycle with him. If you return the jar, he gives you a 10% discount and recycles the glass by washing and sterilising it for re-use. He delivers around Cape Town and nationwide through a courier service. Like most entrepreneurs, he says that his biggest challenge was capital as he had not been expecting to start the business at all.

"The biggest challenge was that I wasn't expecting to start [the business] and I wasn't expecting Covid-19. So the biggest challenge has been capital and nothing else. Everything else comes to me naturally, the recipes etc."

The Capsicum Culinary Studio alumni says after working at Thali, a renowned Cape Town eatery, he went off to study architecture in 2019, but had to quit because the fees were too expensive.

"I like drawing, I like looking at buildings. I'm just a creative in that department as well. It was either architecture or culinary arts."

His love for buildings inspired the name of his business: "I was going through a couple of names, trying to find a name that would describe what it is I'm trying to do or what I want my business to be.

"The word 'lapa' came [to me], I just woke up one morning and that's the first thing that came to my mind. I just want the product to be something that becomes part of the family. That is enjoyed by everyone. And I also wanted the name to be a name from my own language."

Sebola says though his business was in reaction to being out of work and he feels that he's not looking back.

"I don't see myself working for someone else [anymore], especially with what happened with Covid-19."

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