Makeshift structures of planks with smoke can be seen around Maun. The mushrooming structures and smoke is a new business hype that is taking the market by storm – a meat mixture fondly known in local lingo as Mokwetjepe.
40 year old Maipelo Diakanyo of Gantsi has been selling mokwetjepe in Maun Boronyane ward since February. She said she resigned from working in a safari company as she was not paid an amount commensurate with the work load in the business. For her, the meagre P1200 per month for housekeeping at the Safari could no longer sustain her or meet her needs.
Made with just a mixer of tripe, meat with bones, oil and salt, the mokwetjepe gives her a total of P4 000.00 per month. Diakanyo explained that she wakes up at 0600hrs early in the morning to prepare the delicacy. She bragged that selling traditional food has made her unique from her competitors who serve the likes of rice and salads. With her plate only selling for P10.00 it is affordable for the whole community, which explains why she leaves her stall in the evening empty handed, after selling everything she had prepared for the day unlike her counterparts. Her menu is predominantly traditional food such as mealie meal (papa), mokwetjepe and fat cakes.
Since starting her business in February she used to make about P4000 monthly until Covid 19 disrupted her operations, reducing her sales to just about P2000 per month.
A duo also selling mokwetjepe Kegakgametse Jeremiah and Bristo Keamogetswe both 30 years old say that they make a living through selling the traditional cuisine. The duo started selling on the 2nd of June 2020. Kegakgametse said she was frustrated with queuing at Labor offices every day and not finding any employment. Her partner Bristo had been selling food from home but later decided to set up a stall and sell at a plac whe he is accessible to customers.
They also sell traditional food such as maize meal, cooked cow hooves, and mokwetjepe. When asked how business is going Kegakgametse said that just like any other business the income is fluctuating especially now since their customers were mostly alcohol consumers at the bar they sell next to.
With elbow-benders not drinking and buying the profits have gone down from P8000 a month to just about P2000. She narrated how this time they are only relying on bus and taxi drivers to make a living since they are their only customers. Kegakgametse suggests that bars should be open and adhere to Covid 19 regulations so they, small businesses can make better profit.
30 year old Bristo being the male in the equation says that he has no business being in the cooking business as it makes ends meet. He says that it is easy to obtain stock as meat is plenty and the scaling price is reasonable.
Lemogang Gome a regular customer at Bristo and Kegakgametse says she spends about P100.00 a week buying mokwetjepe. She says that she does not mind spending P10.00 everyday buying offal as they have no preservatives added and is healthy as it is loaded with vitamins and amino acids .She therefore encourages small business owners especially those selling traditional food to have variety of food such as millet, sorghum to promote culture.