Nompumelelo Nkosi’s witty personality, amazing recipes make her a social media hit
Self-taught cook credits her grandmother for her love of food
A brisk, yet delightful stroll down Nompumelelo Nkosi’s Instagram page reveals her mouth-watering treats, finished with a comedic panache.
The 29-year-old self-taught cook is from Umlazi, south of Durban, and is based in Johannesburg, where her career as a digital content creator has taken off. Nkosi believes that her witty personality has been the winning recipe to her social media influence.
“I spent most of my life in KwaZulu-Natal. For varsity I went to the UKZN [University of Kwa-Zulu Natal] and studied criminology but didn’t finish because of financial exclusions,” she says.
“I don’t think content creation was in the cards for me, but it found me. I’ve always had a good following on X [formerly Twitter], with around 5,000 followers. At that time, companies and people would approach me to do promotions.
“I’ve had 8,000 followers on Instagram until now; in September, my following went all the way up. I’m on the road to 70K, all thanks to my food content. I started TikTok about a year ago in August and I’m close to 150K followers.”
Nkosi has since become acquainted with the numbers game of content creation, keeping up with social media analytics and number of views, which equate ching-ching.
“Views equals money. On TikTok I’m on five million views and Instagram three million views per month,” she says.
“I never thought I would find my footing in the food space. Initially, I thought I would find myself in the comedy space, but I didn't think I would have cracked it as I'm shy. I have a witty personality, and mix it with my food content ... it has been incredible. I am so thankful to have found my footing in the food space, as for me ... food is love.”
The eldest of three siblings, Nkosi and her brothers were brought up by their grandmother. It was her grandmother’s expression of love through food which plated Nkosi into her food-creation calling.
“She showed us love by cooking for us – we had breakfast, lunch and supper, and it was all planned. She was also particular about the produce she would buy and would insist to know where it came from.
"By virtue of being homosexual, my grandmother and I often clashed. However, as a grown adult, irrespective of how different we were, we found common ground in our shared love for food,” Nkosi says.
“I think about it whenever I cook or go shopping. It’s cute to see me become like her.”
Reflecting on her journey from being cyberbullied on social media, Nkosi is thankful for the supportive community she has gained.
“I am not as active on X as before. A lot of my dignity has been stripped off. I’ve had to speak up about matters that were sensitive to me and left me traumatised. Fortunately, brands don’t want X as much for me,” she confesses.
“Even though I’ve been on X for longer than I’ve been on Instagram and TikTok, the love I’ve experienced from the latter have been so great and overwhelming. They [Instagram and TikTok followers] want you to win and are happy for you. They inbox you and give you advice on things that I don’t know.”
“I didn’t go to culinary school. I cook because I love feeding people and eating good food, which I learned from my gran. I’m always open to learning from other people."
Umfino served with wors and uphuthu
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 stock cube
- 1 chopped pepper of your choice
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons of mother-in-law curry powder
- 1kg umfino (wild spinach), washed and chopped
- 1kg of boerewors, prepared separately
- 2 cups maize meal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Bring water to the boil in a separate saucepan of your choice (water must be less than maize meal)
- Add salt and maize meal
- Turn down heat while stirring. It should appear fluffy than normal braai pap.
- Use your hands to determine the texture. Once satisfied with fluffiness, set aside.
- To prepare umfino, add oil,onions, peppers, stock cube and mother-in-law curry into heated saucepan
- Once caramelised, add umfino and stir together
- Bring heat down and leave to cook for 5-10 minutes until bright-green.
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