Born and raised in Witbank, Mpumalanga, Gratitude Mapaila is the founder of Kwa-Mamazala Café; a pop-up restaurant and corporate catering company…
She grew up in an entrepreneurial family which influenced her choice in profession.
“Growing up my family owned a supermarket, bakery, and butchery. There I was taught to work hard and do right on first attempt, to put more effort in my work and goals till I succeed, “the results will show you off to the world”, my grandmother used to say. Seeing that hard work paid-off for my family for more than 36 years in business.
Relationship struggles led to her taking control of her life and future
Gratitude has had many setbacks, and personal struggles which also inspired her to open her own Café business. One of her struggles was when an opportunity came for her husband to own a pharmacy, everything started to change. He no longer cared for the family and started misusing the money earned from the pharmacy business
“My husband started his new business and our marriage started to fall apart. There was more money and lots of women involved, and he ended up not wanting me to be part of the pharmacy and at times he would deprive us financially and not take care of the house needs, leaving me and our children going to bed hungry.”
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Identifying a need & potential market
During the tumultuous time in her relationship, Gratitude noticed a need in her community, and started thinking about starting her own business to help those around her.
“During that process I noticed all the shops close to the pharmacy were selling unhealthy food. That is when I decided to conducted market-research. I asked everyone I saw during lunch what healthier food options would they like to have instead. The community gave a list of their wishes and I was on my way to honouring them,” says Gratitude.
She hopes to inspire other women and entrepreneurs
“I came from a very good background and had good self-esteem growing up, but during my marriage I forgot those things and lost myself along the way. I set aside my own goals, and dreams to support my ex-husband’s and taking care of my family at home,” says Gratitude.
Gratitude has re-claimed her power and realised her self-worth. She is fully focused on herself and her business growth.
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A participant in the SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme, Gratitude is currently working on a new menu for her restaurant with the help from the SAB Programme; the SAB programme invests in entrepreneurs – with a particular emphasis on women, youth, people in rural areas and entrepreneurs with a disability – who show the potential and commitment to grow a business and create jobs.
To improve her craft and skills, Gratitude is currently enrolled at Chefs Training & Innovation Academy (CTIA), a culinary school in Centurion.
Upon completion of the 12-month programme, Gratitude will receive the: City & Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Arts.
This is an international qualification registered in the United Kingdom as a National Vocational Qualification and certification is issued by City & Guilds of London.
Gratitude hopes other women and young people can learn from her struggles.
“The important thing is rising after each mistake and not letting it hold you back. My experience taught me that failure is part of learning.”
“People cannot override what God has ordained for me, bad breaks and delays can’t stop me. I understood that my destiny was too big to accomplish on my own. I had to connect with the right people who understood my goals,” says Gratitude.