The Nedbank Kapana Cook-Off 2021 competition will launch this Friday, 7 May. The competition, which is in its seventh year, will once again provide a business for the winner in the form of mobile food kitchen. Last year’s winner Brumilda Hikumwa became the sixth winner of the Nedbank Kapana Cook-Off competition against eight other finalists to take the grand prize, valued at N$100 000.
Hikumwa walked away with a mobile food kitchen with built-in quality appliances as well as cash. She remembered that competition like yesterday – grilling strips of meat, served with salsa that included finely chopped onions and tomatoes, drops of vinegar and vegetable oil, crushed dried chilies and spice. Participants presented one of the favourite and sought-after street food to judges from the Namibia Chefs Association, who placed emphasis on hygiene, presentation and taste.
“I did not enter the competition to win, but to gain experience for one day when I own my restaurant. Nedbank made it happen – they take people at heart – no money asked – they provide you with all the necessary skills to operate a business and how to use the fancy appliances like the deep fryer – Nedbank and the sponsors have just changed my future for the better,” a proud Hikumwa expressed.
From a very young age, she spent her time in the kitchen, trying and experimenting with different recipes. As time went by, the woman, in her late twenties, realised she can earn a living from selling food.
A few years ago, she bought a barbeque stand and sold grilled meat at bars and shebeens to feed her two children, and to pay their school fees.
But that changed after she was crowned the winner of the competition.
Today, she employs one woman.
Passion for food and determination have helped Hikumwa to overcome all odds despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The curfew brought many challenges for small businesses due to shorter operating hours and fewer customers.
Shortages, as well as high prices of meat due to the outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease in the northern parts of the country was also a set-back for many vendors.
Despite that chaos and uncertainty, Hikumwa has risen to the challenges and are boldly going where others fear to tread: to continue what she loves – selling kapana and expanding her business with the movable fully-fledged kitchen that she always dreamt about.
The Cook-Off has also created successful entrepreneurs such as the 2018 winner Sakeus Kateya, who now employs five people. He operates from Meatco and Meatma in Windhoek’s northern industrial area. It was also not an easy ride for Kateya since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Kateya also acquired an additional food truck – but due to the pandemic, he was forced to close for business that operated in other parts of Windhoek.
“It was tough last year but things are improving now. Our profits have increased over the past few months and business is better,” Kateya said.
The sky is the limit for this driven young man, who aspires to own more food trucks in the near future. He has expanded his business and offers a catering service for a steady client base. He has not limited himself with the menu – his kapana includes a choice of strips of meat, chicken, pork or liver together with salsa.
“It must include fat cake – then the dish is complete – the real kapana!” laughs Sakey (as he is known by some clients).
Kateya believes anyone can be a winner but winning comes with a price, as it takes courage, determination and passion. His advice to anyone considering taking part in the competition: “Be responsible and follow the rules of the sponsors. Always expect the unexpected and work as hard as you can.”
Both Hikumwa and Kateya agree that this initiative is indeed “Ubuntu” – Nedbank fulfils its promise in its quest for unity and opportunity by encouraging young Namibians to be self-employed and contribute towards the socio-economic development of the country.
The competition will have preliminary rounds at the coast, in the north and in Windhoek, with the overall winner to be selected at the finals later in the year. Bakpro, who has co-sponsored the Nedbank Kapana Cook-Off in previous years, will once again support the competition this year.
To date, Nedbank Namibia has invested over N$3 000 000 in hosting this flagship national competition in support of small businesses and celebrating our true Namibian cuisine.