The proudly South African Sunday lunch club you need to try

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The proudly South African Sunday lunch club you need to try

A Gqebera-born Sunday lunch club, The Ukutya Club Experience is mixing things up in Cape Town with indigenous menus and innovative remixes using traditional dishes. (Cheese-and-tomato sandwich made with smoked amasi cheese and isonka somfino, anyone?). Khanya Mzongwana caught up with the founders ahead of the 7th edition of Ukutya Club Experience, which will be held at Maker’s Landing in Cape Town on 10 April 2022.

Ukutya is a food movement founded by home cooks and food activists Nabo Binase and Lipato Shogole. Their purpose? To shine a light on African indigenous foods through all manner of food platforms, including the use of seasonal foods, indigenous grains, foraging and identifying edible wild plants. They connect with the world through social media and food activations in the form of one of the grandest and most important meals of the week – Sunday kos.

These abundantly delicious, lazy hosted lunches are more than just a tasty excuse to leave the house, they’re educational and insightful, too. Guests have the opportunity to eat Nabo and Lipa’s shared food histories and fall in love with a new ingredient at each one of their experiences. “Our food is simple and all about capturing our diners with flavour first. Every single one of our menus is guaranteed to include something you haven’t had the chance to try yet.”

This Gqebera-originating duo is on a mission to discover lesser-known African indigenous foods and share their findings with the world through foraging, experimenting and sharing ingredient factoids passed down from their elders.


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Nabo Binase and Lipato Shogole didn’t always walk the culinary path.

Lipato’s has his foundations in the fashion industry; both on the runway and in the workshop with his streetwear label Iskapie, where he meticulously sews most of the garments himself. “Iskapie is a word used to describe someone who knows nothing, someone to which everything is new. Someone who doesn’t conform. In the spirit of izikapie, we approach everything we do, cook, with fresh eyes. We are curious about the origins of our food heritage and discovering new ways to cook ancient things. We believe food is best when its shared.”

Nabo, on the other hand, a food enthusiast coming from a long line of great cooks, took a leap of faith, leaving her health insurance job to pursue her food career. “I want our daughter to know me as the one who makes bold choices and crusades for what’s right. For us, telling a comprehensive story of African food is what’s right.”

190 Masangwana Street in New Brighton was Ukutya’s home for 5 years where they operated their food business and hosted regular food, fashion and musical gatherings. They had to halt their business for a few months because of Covid-19, which inspired their brave next move.

Together, they left their home and beloved event venue, and made the trek to Cape Town, where they’re currently participating in the Maker’s Landing Food Business Incubator, learning vital skills such as food cost, recipe development and meeting and collaborating with other food entrepreneurs.

“We got really curious about where our food actually comes from, you know? And once we started to learn more, we figured others must surely also want to know. We want to make the knowledge accessible and make sure we are archiving all these important pieces of culinary history.”

Nabo is the assigned scribe of the duo and is developing her penmanship by way of researching the Xhosa names for ingredients and historical cooking methods, and passing down skills from her grandmother in Lady Frere to their guests at each Ukutya Club Experience. “We made umqombothi from scratch with Lipato’s rakgadi for our last edition of Ukutya, it’s a serious labour of love – it takes days to prepare and is absolutely worth it.”


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Ukutya Club Experience is a fun, relaxed pop-up food activation celebrating African indigenous foods. “We encourage an ongoing consumption of food that is real. We hope to inspire people to eat mindfully in ways that feel and good as they taste.”

With their 7th edition of Ukutya Club Experience upon them, Nabo and Lipa have opted to keep it local with their own comforting interpretation of a cheese-and-tomato sandwich with handmade smoked amasi cheese, isonka somfino and their especially delicious take on ibhisto or super slow-cooked tomatoes – and those are just the starters. “The menu is inspired by the month of April, the month of the withering pumpkin (uTshazimpuzi in isiXhosa). It is also the month that symbolizes harvest season as the days seem to get shorter and temperatures begin to drop.

“Our inspiration is also drawn from the warmth of the orange colours within the seasonal Gourd family and the golden falling leaves that lay in heaps on the corners of our Gqeberha streets. This is the season where we bid farewell to the old habits and begin the process of beckoning newness.”

“We are harnessing the comfort of uKwindla, or Autumn. Organic autumnal crops at their best and foraged wild herbs feature strongly in what must be our favourite menu thus far!”

The Cape Town 7th edition of Ukutya Club Experience will be a lunch on the 10th of April at Makers Landing V&A Waterfront.

Tickets include a carefully crafted 3-course meal and a welcome drink at the door.

Head to their Instagram page @ukutya.ukutya to see the full menu and for booking details.

Photograph: Ashleigh Henry, Side Wing

Khanya Mzongwana Article by: Khanya Mzongwana

If you're anything like our deputy food editor Khanya Mzongwana, you're obsessed with uniqueness and food with feeling. Cook her family-tested favourites, midweek winners and her mouth-wateringly fresh takes on plant-based eating.

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