Tshepiso Mahika’s sushi joint thrives in Soweto

Tshepiso Mahika is making sushi fashionable in ekasi.

With no formal food qualifications, the 28-year-old, who now owns Johnittos Sushi in Meadowlands, was always a food lover who learnt his cooking skills from YouTube.

“The bug for food love bit me in 2018 when I was doing my Honours in Economics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I would prepare some meals, take pictures, send them to my friend and he would encourage me to do more,” said Mahika.

Mahika learnt his sushi-making skills from a professional chef before he started his business in 2019, which was not an easy journey.

“I started this business with my partners who fell away along the way because entrepreneurship needs people who are clear about their vision. At some point I had four employees, but now I have two. I have had times where I had to lend money from friends,” said Mahika.

He said sushi was one of the most difficult meals he has had to make, but he stuck with it as a business plan because he wanted to change the myth that such food is and can only be consumed in the suburbs.

“What people do not know is that our economy is mostly run by people who live in the townships. I grabbed an opportunity to run a business in Meadowlands with both hands because I saw it as a way to impart knowledge about sushi and create a market of our own.”

Mahika’s dream is to open sushi bars across South Africa and one in Japan. “So the Japanese can get a taste of how we make sushi the South African way.”



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