Siba Mtongana.
Siba Mtongana.
Image: Sarah de Pina

Design icon: Laduma Ngxokolo, for sure! I’m obsessed with all things local, and in the design space, Ngxokolo is making waves abroad with his gorgeous designs inspired by the patterns, colours, and vibrancy of my own tribe, the Xhosa clan.

Beauty balms: I was blessed with good skin, so I keep my beauty routine fairly simple. My hands, however, take a beating in the kitchen, so I use nourishing, natural, homemade scrubs and oils to rescue them.

Tech gadget: Wireless headphones. I spend so much time on the phone — catching up with family while on the road, doing interviews, and running my business — that hands-free earphones are a dream come true.

Drink of choice: I’ve always loved teas, and I am warming to coffee culture. I enjoy the idea of a grab-and-go, and the fast pace of the urban coffee dweller.

All-time favourite place to eat out: Locally, Liam Tomlin’s Thali is my all-time favourite. It offers exceptionally flavoursome food, a vibrant environment, great service, and — I believe — great value for money. What more could you want?

Item of clothing I bought, instantly loved, and still have in my wardrobe years later: A pair of shoes that I bought with my first paycheque: a classic pair of gorgeous leather brogues, which are back in fashion — to my delight.

Listening to: I spend quite a lot of free time listening to podcasts. I enjoy business-leadership and spiritual- and emotional-growth-themed podcasts.

Artist I have my eye on: Michael Bublé, but who doesn’t? We are all big fans at home, including the littlies!

The first thing to go onto my grocery list is gorgeous, fresh seafood; it is my absolute favourite and a staple in the Mtongana household

Watching: Lately I haven’t had much free time, but Suits can eat up a whole day without my even realising it. I also love anything food-related, and war movies.

What makes me happiest: My family, of course. I am blessed beyond measure. And creating — be it through recipes, content, or new pathways for business ventures. I love seeing things grow from nothing through a vision and some really hard work.

Last travel destination that knocked my socks off: I recently spent two weeks in Australia, between Melbourne and Sydney, and I just loved every minute. The food culture is vibrant, explorative, and exciting; the people are friendly; and the country is just beautiful, with lots to see and do. It reminded me a lot of home.

Dream dinner-party guests (dead or alive): Tata, our late president Nelson Mandela. He is my true hero.

Next on my list of must-have items: I’m in the process of getting myself new gas stoves: one for my personal kitchen and one for the Innovation Kitchen, where all my recipe testing happens.

Fridge and trolley essentials: The first thing to go onto my grocery list is gorgeous, fresh seafood; it is my absolute favourite and a staple in the Mtongana household — even the children love it. And you’ll always find sumptuous fresh fruit and greens in my fridge. They remind me of home in the Eastern Cape.

Rejuvenated by: Nothing beats a spa day. It’s a great way to restart the engines and get yourself back to a state where you can function at full capacity. My husband, Brian, often treats me to spa days. The spa at the One&Only in Cape Town is one of my favourites.

Indulgence I would never forgo: I adore a fresh loaf of good-quality bread — it is my weakness. And a little knob of butter goes a long way.

From the June edition of Wanted 2019.

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