Organic, plant-based cereal helps diabetics

Local ingredients support local businesses

Vhutshilo Netshiongolwe is the founder of MakapuZA
Vhutshilo Netshiongolwe is the founder of MakapuZA
Image: Vukuzenzele

Vhutshilo Netshiongolwe has created an organic, plant-based cereal that is suitable for diabetics.

Netshiongolwe, from Limpopo, says the idea was sparked after watching his grandmother battle with type 2 diabetes, for over 35 years, and struggle to access proper medication.

Last year, Netshiongolwe finally put his product, MukapuZA, on the market. He says this was after a long trial and error process to create the affordable cereal.

“I wanted the cereal to minimise my grandmother’s insulin resistance, yet taste as good as any other food. The name Mukapu is derived from a Tshivenda word that refers to soft porridge,” says Netshiongolwe. 

The certified aircraft turner machinist invested time in researching indigenous knowledge systems and how these can be used to manage diabetes.

Netshiongolwe says diabetes is a huge problem. His vision is to be a pioneer of personalised dietary meal replacements that can help in managing and ultimately reverse insulin resistance completely. This would substantially lower the cost of diabetes healthcare.

“Through the support of friends and family, I was able to fund the business personally. I have rented a house, which was converted into a processing plant, where we do our own production and packaging.

"We also source all our ingredients locally, which supports local businesses.” 

The company has grown to now also produce instant cereals, crunchy granola and sweet potato post-workout flakes.

Netshiongolwe says his products are also receiving interest from those who do not have diabetes.

Interest is slowly picking up, especially in urban areas where many people are fitness enthusiasts, food and health conscious and believe in weight management.

“We now deliver nationwide through third party courier services, and employ four permanent staff members,” Netshiongolwe says.

 This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele

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