Maboneng hotspot serves up authentic kasi tastes & sounds

Eksé, a fast food joint in downtown Joburg, gives people a taste of township culture

04 August 2017 - 00:00 By Belinda Mountain
Eksé has a very chilled vibe, perfect for slow lazy lunches.
Eksé has a very chilled vibe, perfect for slow lazy lunches.
Image: Supplied

Eksé is a fast food outlet in Maboneng owned by Melisa Sibaya and her partner Desiree Matlala.

The ambitious women were born and bred in the townships of Johannesburg and Pretoria, and, although they have backgrounds in the cosmetics and media industries, they’ve always been foodies at heart.

“We were inspired to open Eksé because we wanted to cater for those who miss the taste of home – the townships where they grew up,” says Melisa.

With the move into the city and suburbia for work and university, many people are homesick for the places of their birth, including the food and culture.

Melisa says they also wanted to expose people to township dishes, as many tourists and Joburg locals who didn’t grow up in a township have long been curious about the cuisine.

“They may have experimented with tradition African food, but few have explored or even been exposed to township tastes,” says Melisa.

Eksé overflows with music, art and history, giving customers authentic township flavours and a unique ambiance.

Some of the most popular dishes include:

• The Sophisticated Sphahlo sandwich: bacon, Russian or chicken sausage, avocado and cheese served on panini bread and served with a generous portion of chips.

• The Classic Kota: a beef patty with a Russian Vienna topped with cheese, smothered in jalapeno relish and served with a quarter loaf of bread and chips.

• The Bantu Banter: two beef patties served on a deconstructed carrot salad with basil mayo pesto.

Eksé's food taps into nostalgic moments in the kasi.
Eksé's food taps into nostalgic moments in the kasi.

Your mouth may already be watering, but there’s more.

Eksé also hosts monthly music events on weekends. “We have a commitment to uplifting hidden talent from the townships and we do so by hosting a monthly event called Kasi Sundays, which is a platform where unknown artists get to share their music,” says Melisa.

In the summer, the duo plans to host two weekly events called Chesa Nyama Saturdays and Soul Food Sundays. These will be opportunities for people from all walks of life to get together and do what South Africans do best: enjoy a braai and indulge in soulful music and socialising over a delicious meal.

Corporates looking for a township experience can also book out Eksé for a fun and alternative dining experience.

This article was originally published in one of the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit