Going global with indigenous African food Empowering entrepreneurs across the African continent is one of Sipamandla Manqele’s primary missions. As the owner of Local Village Foods, she aims to bring indigenous African food to the world.

Sipamandla Manqele, a Johannesburg-based agripreneur and founder of Local Village Foods. Photo: Supplied/Stokvel Talk
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Born and raised in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, Manqele sources her produce from local, small-scale producers across the continent, including farmers from Nigeria, Malawi, and Benin, as well as Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.

She says that, with food, we are able to form true connections that help us celebrate our diverse traditions.

“[Food] accompanies all of life’s most significant moments and plays a critical role in the social and traditional life of African cultures and their people. And yet, at the global banquet table, African foods and ingredients, together with the continent’s diverse food traditions, remain underrepresented.”

Healthy alternatives

Ethical production is of paramount importance to Manqele, which is why she insists on equitably sourcing her ingredients. Under Local Village Foods, she offers Bambara groundnuts, fonio grain, tiger nut flour, teff grain, sorghum flour, and moringa.

“Our customers are able to enjoy sustainably grown, indigenous ingredients while at the same time supporting the livelihoods of small, rural agripreneurs,” says Manqele.

Plant-based and vegan-friendly, the food under the Local Village brand offers consumers healthy alternative options.

“Many people are not aware of the health benefits of traditional African foods. Many of them are considered superfoods due to their nutritional value, or ‘futureproof’ foods owing to the fact that they can be produced sustainably and in areas with low rainfall levels.”

The Local Village range

The primary food type sold under the Local Village Foods brand is wholefood offerings. The brand also has a line called Bissap Beverages. Consumers are able to buy products like fusilli pasta, made from the moringa plant, as well as organic tiger nut flour, and moringa and amaranth grain snack bars.

From the Bissap line, consumers can purchase a plant-based African drink made from roselle, which is popular in West Africa. Across the continent, this species of hibiscus has many names, like wonjo, dabileni, tsobo, zobo, or sobolo.

To read more about Manqele’s story, click here.