Due to the ease in which one can make a condiment from home, several people have seen this as a way of making extra income by creating their own brand. It is also not farfetched to think that one of the reasons a lot of people start their own hot sauce business, is because eating spicy foods can help release endorphins.
For Kolo Kgopana it was the passion that inspired him. “My love for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen was the main drive. I wanted to create a sauce that was unique based on my culinary experience that was influenced by my township upbringing and tastes that have passed through my palate in my various travels in and beyond the country,” Kgopana tells Spot-On.
He is the owner of the Brada Tease hot sauce brand from Soweto. He currently has four products-three different types of sauces and 1 paste. The mild is a jalapeno pepper-based sauce, the Hot has a chilli called Chisa as its main ingredient. The Extra Hot is based on the habanero chilli and sweet ingredients are added to make it easy on the palate.
“All the hot sauces are made in the same method, using less than seven ingredients depending on the flavour. I mix all ingredients in a blender, blend for a period of time and then boiling the mixture in a stainless-steel pot for 15 minutes. On reaching 15 minutes, the bottles are then filled while the sauce is still hot from the pot and then bottles are inverted. This is done to stop the fermentation process and give the sauces a longer shelf life. The paste is also made from the Chisa chilli,” says Kgopana.
The sauces are available at Neighborly Lifestyle Grocery Store, Soweto. “Much of the sales are done through selling to small Soweto eateries and individuals.”
The one-year-old brand doesn’t have permanent employees. “I normally have temporary employees when I go sell at various food markets around a Joburg. The number of employees depends on the market, the weekend I sell in and other factors that come into play from time to time.”
Kgopana sites the market’s inconsistency where he buys his stock, as a challenge. “So, product availability is dependent on stock the market has. The supplier of bottles sometimes goes for a week without stock, which affects deliver. The high cost of getting the sauces tested as per regulations and access to funding and markets,” Kgopana speaks of the challenges he must contend with in running the business.
He harbours the ambition of being the number one chilli sauce in Gauteng. “Exporting it to East and West Africa is part of the plan and then beyond the confines of the continent.”
Kgopana receives no funding to operate the business, only being assisted by friends and family. “While I may not have access to direct monetary funding, the company is however currently part of the Wakanda Food Accelerator incubation programme a partnership with The DTI and SEDA. This is a an independent not for profit company (NPC) with a purpose to accelerate local food and beverage small businesses and build them up into world class sustainable businesses. They provide the following: Access to markets using innovative models, access to funding, business coaching and mentorship, business Development services and business and technical training.”
This past Friday Kgopana launched his book titled Days on the balcony. Sharing the synopsis, he says the book is based on the life Dutie, a happy-go-lucky Soweto-born and bred vicenarian living the typical South African township dream. Born in the township, working hard, and moving to the suburbs when finances allow. His is a routine life but it all takes a different turn, when new and aberrant neighbours move into the house adjacent to his in a suburban residential complex.
“The book takes readers on a comical, topsy-turvy ride as experienced through Dutie’s interaction with some of the characters in the book, from a philandering dog, a Rastafarian with a short memory, unconventional prayer warriors to old soccer clubs football fanatics.”