Bongani Motau’s was just ten years old when he was selling sweets, chips, and biscuits to his peers at the Thabang Primary School in Marble Hall, Mpumalanga. Now, this hustler as taken his dreams to new heights as the owner of a kasi restaurant.
A former football player, Motau is the proud owner of La Liga Restaurant in Marble Hall, inspired by his love for the game of soccer. “The strongest Spanish league is named La Liga, therefore I decided to name my restaurant after it,” he explains.
“My favourite team is Real Madrid, which now competes in the La Liga division so, I chose to name my restaurant ‘La Liga’ due to my love for football.”
A food hustler since his tweens
Motau recalls that he liked to cook when he was younger. He was still a young boy when his parents decided to split up.
He acknowledges that his mother, Sibongile Jacobeth Motau, and his grandmother, Sophie Ntuni Tlou, were vital in the development of the man he is today. His curiosity in the kitchen saw him cook breakfast for them.
“I have never experienced the father’s love. There is no use in my complaining about his presence or absence because it does not make a significant difference,” he says.
“My mother and grandmother have given me the love I required throughout my life, and that they continue to do so even now, is more than enough for me.”
His hustling, however, came to a halt when he reached grade nine and discovered his love for football. Like many teens his age he wanted to fit in with his peers at the Madoda High School.
“For me, growing up was all about starting a company and playing soccer, and nothing else,” he says.
“But because my family was struggling to make ends meet, I believe I wanted to develop quickly and find a method to make money. The ideal choice would be to locate a coach who could train me and connect me with the appropriate authorities so that I could become a soccer star or start my own business.”
He sacrificed his dream of being a soccer great because it would take up too much of his time, and instead chose to open a business.
Challenges with becoming your own boss
Motau matriculated in 2013. He believes he was fortunate to have friends who shared his vision, as they supported him while he sold sweets and cookies in primary school. After matric, he worked in numerous retail shops and saved up enough money to start his own business.
“I have always desired to be my own boss. I exercised financial self-control while working at retail stores. Finally, in October of 2020, I formally established my kasi mini restaurant, La Liga.”
According to Motau, business ownership is not child’s play. He adds that while he was satisfied with the progress of his business, thieves stole his merchandise estimated to be worth R5 000, including a popcorn machine that was just three months old, a deep fryer, and a griller stove.
“However, a friend of mine offered me a deep fryer so that I could continue working while I save money to purchase new equipment.”
Motau says that it is always advantageous to establish excellent relationships with other people who work in the same industry as you, since they can assist you when you need help.
Hard work rewarded
According to Motau, self-employment is not necessarily difficult. “What makes things better is working hard every day and doing new things without fear of loss or failure.”
His hard work has even seen him nominated for the best kasi fast food award by the Media Entertainment Spotlight Awards. “I am pleased that something great came out of my hard effort since I received more votes from fans and won the award for best kasi joint.”
People often want to take pictures with him when they first encounter him, even at the mall. According to him, this proves that his work is noticed.
“The long-term objective of La Liga is to open franchises in other provinces. I would be thrilled to find a La Liga Restaurant in every mall in South Africa.”
Motau says he would be pleased to generate employment possibilities for individuals in need, especially since South Africa’s unemployment rate is so high.
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