Even in South Africa, African food is not the default. And in Cape Town especially, dining can be quite Eurocentric. Centuries of colonialism erased indigenous foods and entrenched the idea that European food is somehow superior. These effects are still found today, but a microbiologist turned ice-cream maker, Tapiwa Guzha, wants that to change. With every handcrafted scoop served at Cape Town’s Tapi Tapi, he tells the story of his own food history, as well as stories from across the African continent.
His freezers contain flavors like rondo ice cream, made with a nutritious edible clay consumed by pregnant women all over Africa, as well as botanical flavors such as black-jack, bitter leaf, and baobab. Sometimes Guzha whips up an ice-cream version of kelewele, a caramelized Ghanaian plantain snack with ginger and fire-roasted peanuts. Guzha’s recipes range from comforting to challenging. One of his more daring ice-cream flavors included matemba, a dried fish that he paired with toffee.
Tapi Tapi is located in the heart of Observatory, an eclectic and diverse neighborhood in Cape Town. Guzha has painted his open-air parlor with his own artwork and words. As a one-man business, his operation is truly remarkable, open six days a week and closed for churning ice cream on the seventh. But Guzha’s passion for his creations and his mission keep him going.
Know Before You Go
Tapi Tapi is also the home of “Iwe neni,” Guzha's food accessibility project where he makes nutritious meals for hungry locals. You can donate money or produce to Guzha’s feeding scheme, or pay it forward by donating ice cream to someone else. This allows Guzha to offer ice cream for free to someone who would like to try it but has financial limitations. He also offers a barter system. If you have an ingredient that you think would make a good flavor, you can exchange it for ice cream. The shop is closed to the public on Mondays.
But you can learn how to make ice cream for free by joining Guzha for Monday morning churning. He’ll teach you the ropes, and you’ll get to take some dessert home.