Masicorp working with AWOL Tours and Songezo Jim’s cycling academy

The coming and going of cyclists from Songezo Jim’s cycling academy has become a regular sight since the professional cyclist started renting space at Chasmay Road. Songezo was aided in his move to the new premises by AWOL Tours who have helped him with sponsorship. AWOL have run a cycling tour of Masi for many years and have now decided to make their relationship with Songezo more formal. The AWOL bicycles are stored together with Songezo’s and the AWOL tour now begins at the Chasmay Road campus.


The new partnership was recently launched at an opening event on the campus.  The AWOL Team invited the Songezo cycling academy cyclists to a BBQ / braai to meet the team.  Nonny’s café and Mark’s braai bus provided a perfect launch feast and many plans for future cycling development were made.


The academy now has a workshop and storage space, and there is an opportunity to assist in developing Masiphumelele’s cycling legacy and training future AWOL cycling guides.

In addition to the regular cycling tour AWOL now introduce their guests to the Songezo cycling academy and also showcase the Masicorp crafters and artisans who share the premises at Chasmay Campus. During school term, the tour visits a local crèche and a proportion of every tourists booking fee continues to be donated to Masicorp to support the development of ECD in the community.

You can book the AWOL cycling tour HERE


A Mid-Year Break for our Bursary Students

We took the opportunity to catch up with our bursary students last weekend. Most of them were back in Masiphumelele for the break between the academic semesters. Fortunately it has been a trouble free period on campus at all universities in the Western Cape and good academic progress is being made. The teaching has been fairly intensive, with some catching up from modules that were only partially completed last academic year due to the Fees Must Fall demonstrations.

Lindikuhle Phumza & Abulele

This event was mostly a social get-together, with the students appreciating the cooking from the bursary team and another wonderful cake from Nonny’s Bakery.


We also thank the mentors for attending and some of them also donated files and other materials to support the students. In particular we thank the Pack for a Purpose project for providing each student with a flash drive on which they can back up their studies.


Not all students could attend due to winter school and in-service training commitments. We received the following message from Zintle Magazi who is currently in Leuven, Belgium doing two courses in “European policies and politics” as well as ” Social immigration issues”. This is a summer school and is part of her course in International Studies.

The summer school has been a lot of fun thus far even though we have very long days. My normal day at KU Leuven University starts at 9 am and finishes at 6 pm, sometimes 7 or even 8 pm. Each lecture is about two hours long and very information-packed and comprehensive. I believe I know a lot more about Europe now and I’m interested to see how the European Union will deal with the competition from new rising world powers.

 There are eight of us here from Stellenbosch University and we are amongst students from everywhere; some from Russia, China, Italy, Cameroon, Romania, Spain and the Netherlands. It’s so interesting hanging out with all of them and learning about each other’s ways of life through casual conversations or even joking with one another. It really is a blessing to be here and it is motivating me to keep working hard at school so that I can study my postgraduate studies in Germany.

Phumlani Simthembile & SiphuxoloIt is now back to campus and for some students in-service training as their courses come to completion. Our continued thanks to all the sponsors and mentors that assist us in making this programme possible.

The Business Hub

In addition to promoting educational opportunities for the people of Masiphumelele, Masicorp has also provided ongoing business support to a number of entrepreneurs from the community. Examples include the long established Nonny’s Bakery and Nondeyebo Art, who now sell to tourists from their stall at the V&A Watershed.

20160526_133907In an attempt to formalize this part of our work and to increase the number of people that can be helped, we have established a Business Hub at our offices in the Chasmay Road campus. The Hub is staffed by a group of local business people who are volunteering their time and business expertise to help get new business ideas from the community up and running. Establishing a successful business is tough at the best of times, so the support offered from this initiative is likely to be critical to success on the ground.

The Business Hub meets formally every Wednesday, but potential entrepreneurs can call in to the offices any time to leave details of the business ideas they would like to be supported. The Hub can provide administrative support, access to IT services for existing businesses and can also match entrepreneurs with appropriate education programmes. We have contacts within the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), and can introduce community entrepreneurs to the support they provide.

Ndileka Biyo blog

Currently the Business Hub is talking to members of the community who have come forward with possible business ideas. We would like to talk to as many new entrepreneurs as possible and to discuss and assist with their business plans, marketing ideas and possibly even assist with loan funding where a strong potential for success is identified. The Hub volunteers can undertake SWOT analysis of new and existing businesses and help members of the community match their skills and services to those that are needed within the community.

BIYOAlongside support for new businesses we are also assisting existing businesses to grow with financial and administrative support. Many visitors to Masiphumelele will meet Ndileka Biyo and often purchase clothing from her Baby Shweshwe range. We recently helped Ndileka get her business online and have introduced her to many new selling opportunities at local markets. She has also received assistance in developing her new logo for Biyo Designs, which will cover her full range of products.

In addition Nonny has expanded her business to cater for tourists and other visitors to Masiphumelele, and she now provides delicious home cooked meals from her home. This has proven particularly popular with the visitors on AWOL Tours cycle tours of Masiphumelele. With a little help from the Business Hub team she is also considering the production of a cook book, to share her traditional recipes with a wider audience.

As we identify more local entrepreneurs and help to grow the existing businesses we support it is expected there will be many interesting stories to tell. Watch this space for more updates on this rapidly developing part of our work in the community.

An Update from AWOL Tours

Back in November 2014 we were delighted to report on a formal partnership with AWOL Tours, who run bicycle based tours of Masiphumelele from the BEN bicycle shop in the township. AWOL generously agreed to donate R50 per paying guest on each of their tours, which is used to support early childhood development projects in the community. After a successful summer season we are pleased to report the donations received have exceeded R18,000.

cycle tour

The funds are used to support our Seedlings program that provides support to the pre-school children in the community, including the school visited on the cycle tour. In particular, the funds received so far have been used to support our “stay & play” initiative. The scheme is a mother & toddler club held at the Masiphumelele library. The funds from AWOL provide craft materials, equipment and the costs of support staff from the

As part of the tour, AWOL guests also visit some of Masicorp’s business entrepreneurs including Nonny’s bakery for refreshments and Ndileka Biyo at the Pink house for souvenirs.


Our relationship was further strengthened when AWOL recently employeIMG-20150520-WA0001d Zizipho Silwana as a sales consultant at their office in the V&A Waterfront. Zizi is a graduate from our bursary program and recently completed her studies in HR Management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Zizi is seen here with her mother at her graduation ceremony in March of this year.

Hopefully it is a great help to have a resident of Masiphumelele to talk to potential clients at the offices. If you have not done the tour yourself yet why not call in for a chat with Zizi and book a place? There are more details on the cycle tour – and online availability checks – on the AWOL website HERE.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with AWOL and our thanks to all the tourists who take time to visit Masiphumelele on their travels through South Africa.

A Partnership with AWOL Tours

This month sees the beginning of a partnership between Masicorp and AWOL Tours, whoAWOL logo operate cycling tours of Masiphumelele in association with the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN). The relationship will see both organisations working together in the long-term to identify and support specific projects in the township. The AWOL tour currently visits educational sites such as the library and a pre-school as well as taking in wider aspects of community life, such as a visit to a traditional healer. The tour has proved to be very successful with international tourists and has received some excellent Tripadvisor reviews.

BEN-LogoAWOL have generously agreed to donate R50 per paying guest on each of their tours, which will be used to support early childhood development projects in the community. This is in line with the company’s position as a leader in responsible tourism in South Africa. They have previously been awarded Fair Trade in Tourism status due to their work with local communities and their preference for training and employing local staff.

Earlier this year several of the Masicorp team joined AWOL bicycle guide, Zwai, to experience the tour. Zwai lives in Masiphumelele and has worked for AWOL for many years. It was immediately apparent that there are many synergies between what Masicorp and AWOL tours are doing in terms of community upliftment and in particular supporting early childhood development. The tours also often start or finish with a visit to Nonny’s Bakery for coffee and so support another Masicorp project. For a review of the visit by the Masicorp team please click HERE.

masicorp-groupTownship tourism does not always get a good press but the sensitive approach taken by AWOL tours is to be commended and we are delighted to be in partnership with such a respected tour operator. We look forward to a long working relationship and would absolutely recommend the tour to all visitors to the area, local or international.

Business Entrepreneurship in Masiphumelele

Masicorp has been delighted to host Idaishe Mandinyenya from the University of Edinburgh for the past two months. Ida has been undertaking research work on business entrepreneurship in Masiphumelele as part of her MSc course in International Development. Last week she gave her feedback to us last week and left us with some options on how best to develop this area of our work.

idaAlthough Masicorp is primarily an educational organisation, efforts have been made to also support new entrepreneurs with their start-up process as well as support existing businesses. There have been successes, such as Nonny’s Bakery and Nondeyebo Art, but overall this is an area where Masicorp has made only limited progress, and Ida’s recommendations will prove to be a valuable aid to our future progress.

South Africa generally has a low rate of business entrepreneurship compared to other sub-Saharan African nations. In addition there is very little business permanency, with many start-ups focusing on perceived “easier’ activities in retail and hospitality. There are very specific social realities in a community such as Masiphumelele, where access to start-up capital is virtually non-existent and the distance to markets in the city is exacerbated by the cost of the limited transport options.

Ida clearly identified that two types of innovator typically exists. Opportunity entrepreneurs are the creative individuals who have unique ides and the genuine commitment to grow them into a business that can provide employment opportunities in the community. Ideally they would be the individuals that should benefit from any business support programme. However, necessity entrepreneurs are more common in Masiphumelele, where the need to acquire income to meet daily needs outweighs the desire to build a fully sustainable business.

While she was in Cape Town, Ida took the time to visit other areas of the city where successful township businesses were thriving. In particular she mentioned the well-known Department of Coffee in Khayelitsha as an example of what can be achieved. Together with her local research assistant Ida visited the six existing business supported by Masicorp in Masiphumelele. She undertook semi-structured interviews to gain on overview of how the existing support was being utilised, and how it could be improved to help them move towards some of the best examples she had seen elsewhere.

The future challenge for Masicorp will be focused around selecting appropriate entrepreneurs for our programme and guiding them toward the government support that is available, as well as providing experienced business mentors from within our team and their contacts. It is fair to say that our existing support has often been reactive and provides support for immediate needs – such as simply providing a sign for our most recent beneficiary, Daniel Upholstery.

daniel signWe now have a new programme manager in place and thanks to Ida we also now have some guidance on how to structure this area of our work. We wish Ida well with the rest of her studies, and hope to be able to report back on some more business success stories in the near future.

Nonny’s Bakery and Café – one of Masiphumelele’s newest small businesses!

MASICORP is proud to sponsor Nonny’s Bakery and Café – one of Masiphumelele’s newest small businesses!

Swedish Tour group enjoying lunch at Nonny's Bakery

Swedish Tour group enjoying lunch at Nonny’s Bakery

Since it opened a few months ago, Nonny’s Bakery and Café has become a lovely little eating spot. The café is situated just a few metres along on the right hand side once you’ve turned into the main entrance to the Masiphumelele township on the Fish Hoek-Kommetjie Road.  If you’re in the area, it’s an ideal place to stop en route to Cape Point or the penguins.

Nonny serves both light refreshments (including a delicious range of freshly baked cakes and muffins) and tasty lunch dishes such as pies, stews with rice or pap, toasted sandwiches, burgers. For tour groups, she can do a more African style lunch, including township delicacies such as pap and chakalaka! Nonny’s been getting great feedback from tour groups visiting the township and takes a great deal of pride in sharing her story and local cuisine.

Nonny's garden

Nonny’s garden

Nonny’s Bakery has a lovely garden area where customers can sit in the shade of a small pergola and surrounded by a few plants, sadly often a rarity in the township. It really is a very pleasant and safe space to stop and Nonny’s food is very good, and at reasonable prices. Nonny is fully registered with the City of Cape Town and the café complies with all their hygiene requirements

Nonny and her team.

Nonny and her team.

Please feel free to call Nonny directly to book a lunch, or just pop in if you are passing by. Introduce yourself and she’d be happy to tell you about some of the previous lunches she has provided for visitors to the township.

Nonny can be contacted on (+27) 071 9986495. You will not be disappointed!