Mmegi Online :: Bona Tatso: the glint of the township taste
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Last Updated
Wednesday 27 July 2016, 06:00 am.
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Bona Tatso: the glint of the township taste

Townships are usually known for having shebeen-style mini tuck-shops across the street selling mangwinya (fatcakes) and menoto (chicken feet). The atmosphere changed last week when the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng officially opened a restaurant branded Bona Tatso Township Cuisine at the vibrant location of Old Naledi popularly known as Zola. Mmegi Staffer MOMPATI TLHANKANE went to Gaborone’s oldest and largest community to get the Bona Tatso experience
By Mompati Tlhankane Fri 18 Mar 2016, 16:22 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Bona Tatso: the glint of the township taste








Located in Old Naledi in Gaborone, Bona Tatso is hard to miss while driving along the Old Lobatse road. Being the newest kid on the block, the cookery is striking from a distance and for someone who likes sightseeing, the place inspires an interest for a detour.

Car tyres used to fence the front exterior let you know that you have arrived at the township of Zola. Children in the area play around with car tyres, so it adds that significance of the jolly mood in the Old Naledi playgrounds.

As you arrive at the place, you enter the biggest shelter in the area and the mood suddenly switches from township to Setswana culture. While the shelter is surrounded by wood, the little wall and floor at the front were made from a mixture of mud and cow dung.  Inside, there is a perfect arrangement of wooden chairs and tables made by one local carpenter called Shaka who works not far away from the place.  On the chairs are cushions decorated with African print material intended for those who do not want to sit on the bare wooden chairs.

Behind the shelter, there is a green mini-kitchen where some of the cooking and preparation takes place.  The mini-kitchen was painted artistically to show the creative element of the place. The mini-kitchen is attached to another shelter where most of the cooking takes place.

There are big pots around the place and all the cooking is done using firewood.

For those who want to enjoy their meal in a laid-back outside setting, there are other open shelters around the place. Some of the open shelters have an artificial turf to beautify the place.

From breakfast to lunch meals, their menu has something for everyone. To also cater for locals in the township, they serve simple and irresistible dishes like mala, sebete and diphaphata just to name a few.  In an interview with Arts and Culture, the

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founder of Bona, Naledi Salim Kegodile said they came up with Bona Tatso restaurant to promote urban tourism.

“We don’t have a lot of places to go to in townships, so Bona Tatso will be that place,” he said. Kegodile said the place has created employment opportunities for the community of Old Naledi.

He said the restaurant was set up last year after they received P23,000 from Mascom Wireless through the Diacore marathon. He said an America-based company called Barona Trust also assisted to establish the project.

“It was a community project, many people contributed and we took every idea because we didn’t want to impose any ideas on people,” he said.

He said Old Naledi has been feared for a long time, therefore now people can come to the place freely.

“After the launch everyone has been singing accolades and they want the Bona Tatso experience,” he said.   Kegodile said everyone in Old Naledi has taken the full ownership of the place. “Every time they buy a plate, they will be investing in their children’s tuition fees. Sixty percent of the profits goes to Bona Naledi Society.

Kegodile said some of the people they hired went for training because it is hard for people to believe in someone who sells food in the township especially looking at the issue of hygiene.

He said the plot they are using at the moment is waiting for formal acquisition from the Gaborone City Council.

“Youth have been told to utilise public open spaces and we did that. We have worked with the VDC, Kgosi and others to make this possible,” he said. Kegodile said Gaborone Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe has endorsed their restaurant and they have even named one burger after him.

He also said Olopeng has given them a special dispensation to take the project around the country. Kegodile said they want to see the idea rolling into other townships countrywide and creating employment for over 100 people.

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