OUR ROOTS

From Shipping Containers to the Mall of Thembisa

In 1997 south Africa faced a broad unemployment rate of 22.9% making life very hard for the majority of south Africans. With a newly politically liberated country previously advantage individuals were given a plethora of new opportunities to pursue.  It was then that the concept of commercialised Shisanyama was established on a dusty street corner of Ivory Park in Gauteng with only a single 2 L Pot, Gas Griller, display fridge, paraffin stove and two employees.

OUR ROOTS

From Shipping Containers to the Mall of Thembisa

In 1997 south Africa faced a broad unemployment rate of 22.9% making life very hard for the majority of south Africans. With a newly politically liberated country previously advantage individuals were given a plethora of new opportunities to pursue.  It was then that the concept of commercialised Shisanyama was established on a dusty street corner of Ivory Park in Gauteng with only a single 2 L Pot, Gas Griller, display fridge, paraffin stove and two employees.

Pioneering African Spirit

Founded by serial entrepreneur and author Rita Zwane, affectionately known as maZwane

Imbizo Shisanyama has taken African and the world by storm. MaZwane has a heart that is firmly rooted in the development and upliftment of the surrounding community. She has single-handedly pioneered the commercialisation of the Shisanyama sector in the food, beverage, and hospitality sector contributing to dynamic economic growth and job creation in the country. She is the embodiment of the pioneering African spirit.

Historically

Historically in South African families, it has always been a culture to braai meat around an open fire when performing traditional ceremonies and celebrations in uniting of families and friends. This culture has been practised across racial lines and class. We can safely say that a braai (Ukosa in isiZulu) is a single most common practice that carries our history.

“We also know historically that not all people could enjoy a braai in a dignified way, hence the mission of Imbizo Shisanyama is to promote the African culture and ensure that our patrons braai quality meat receiving excellent service in an environment that undoubtedly exudes style, class and dignity.”

The Secret to the Brand’s Success

Is found in the deep understanding of African culture and heritage. 

Imbizo Shisanyama evokes a fierce loyalty from its patrons. They have made the restaurant their home away from home. They effortlessly identify with its brand values and how it celebrates the true African lifestyle and culture. The restaurant is a natural extension of who they are – it is relevant, relatable, and authentically African. Beyond this, the commitment to uplifting its community sets Imbizo Shisanyama worlds apart from any other restaurant. It has a social conscience, it respects and honours the true African identity, and celebrates the culture of Africa. It is a living, breathing example of what Ubuntu means.

Widely Acclaimed

Best Shisanyama in SA

Over the years, Imbizo Shisanyama has been widely recognised, both locally and internationally, with numerous awards. In 2013 the business was crowned NSBC Small Business Champion with maZwane herself winning awards from Gift of the Givers and the AfricaGrowth Institute. Imbizo Shisanyama was recognised as the best Shisanyama in South Africa 2017 during the Windhoek Search for the Best Shisanyama in SA.

Fuelling the SMME Growth & Development

Committed to the surrounding community

The heartbeat of Imbizo Shisanyama is its unrivalled commitment to the local Kasi community that has grown to become a thriving, buzzing economic hub fuelling life and business there. It has been instrumental in creating and growing many local SMMEs which support the everyday running of the business including its cleaning requirements, opening a car wash that is owned by the local youth, and sourcing dumpling and chakalaka from other entrepreneurs in the area. 

A Progressive Social Conscience

Together, with Patrons

The businesses social conscience is just as strong as its community commitment. On noticing the hungry children walking past the establishment during the cold winter months, maZwane started the Bambanani soup kitchen and, working with her equally passionate patrons, has been doing special projects such as donating school clothing to a local orphanage on Mandela Day. For Imbizo Shisanyama, it is walking the talk about enriching everyone’s lives.

Custodian of Heritage Day Celebrations

Festivities move to Rabie Ridge Stadium

Imbizo Shisanyama launched its Heritage Day celebrations in 2002 to give Maskandi artists a platform to showcase their talent. Such was its success that it grew to more than 7 000 visitors in 2017 resulting in a change of venue the following year to the Rabie Ridge Stadium. More than 10 000 people joined in and were united in celebrating their diversity. Today, it attracts a South African who’s who of traditional singers, dancers, and performers replete with glamorous traditional attire. 

Mzansi’s Durban July

Celebrating our diversity

It has become Mzansi’s own Durban July and provides a perfect platform for young and upcoming traditional artists to celebrate all African cultures as a true rainbow nation. In fact, Imbizo Shisanyama is widely recognised as the custodian of authentic Heritage Day celebrations in the country.

The Original Pot

From Humble Beginnings

The original 2litre pot still hangs at Busy Corner today as a testimony to the pioneering spirit that propels Imbizo Shisanyama forward! Today more than 300 litres of iPapa are sold on a normal busy day.

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