Founder of 4Roomed eKasi Culture, the formidable Abigail Mbalo is a dental technologist by profession. Her dental technology career spanned 17 years, having worked in academia, the military, state and private dental laboratories.
She swopped her laboratory coat to follow a passion in food, art and home décor design culminating in the birth of her company 4Roomed eKasi Culture, after partaking in MasterChef South Africa season 3.
4Roomed comprises a fine dining restaurant, the Mphako/Padkos/Mofao takeaway outlet and casual restaurant, and a food truck.
Abigail’s unique offering has drawn international tourists and homesick suburbanites to the Western Cape’s largest township for her take on traditional cuisine with a modern twist.
She is making it her mission to get Khayelitsha and other townships on the tourism map in a bid to improve the socio-economic challenges facing residents, while preaching the health benefits of traditional foods though 4Roomed’s social investment project in terms of backyard food gardening.
She has also embarked on an initiative that promotes township and rural tourism named 4Roomed eKasi Culture Township and Rural Tourism Development Drive.
Her concept stems from the township four-roomed homes of yesteryear, in which houses in the country’s oldest townships comprised a kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms. A narrative of a life lived in these four-roomed homes is shared with guests to bring about an understanding of how the townships have evolved over time from backyard gardening to Ubuntu that was shared by neighbours.
Abigail immerses local tourists with the stories of those who had left home to be close to the places of work, called ‘the city to nostalgic journey’. She also encourages a cohesion of diverse cultures in townships by including meals inspired by the influences of other cultures to these marginalized peripheries of the cities.