From tiny seeds grow mighty trees

In 2020, Khensani Khoza arrived at the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a first-year social science student, far from her Johannesburg home. Her yearning for face-to-face family connections was overwhelming, and video calls couldn’t fill the void. Yet, it was the food she missed most – the familiar flavours and comforting aromas from her mother’s kitchen.

Unable to find the kota, a giant sandwich she adored back home, Khoza took matters into her own hands. Her culinary skills turned her cravings into a solution, initially for herself and then for her fellow students. The demand was so high that she couldn’t keep up, leading to her participation in a campus market day in 2022. That event marked the beginning of Build-a-Bite, Khoza’s street food business specializing in kotas.

Partnering with Food & Connect, a UCT student-focused food service provider, Khoza found the perfect platform to expand. This partnership provided her with kitchen space and allowed her staff to prepare kotas across campus, satisfying the cravings of many students.
“The idea was to get into Food & Connect and bring this service to other students who may not have been familiar with my little business, and it worked. They took a chance on a budding entrepreneur, and we are doing really well,” Khoza shared. Her success has brightened many days, especially for students far from home.

Graduating from UCT in March, Khoza has ambitious plans to expand Build-a-Bite to other universities across the country. Her research shows a healthy appetite for kotas at institutions like the University of Johannesburg and North-West University. However, expanding requires careful feasibility studies and sufficient capital.
Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

“Entrepreneurship is rewarding, but demands hard work and dedication,” Khoza said. “We have the power to change society, and it’s up to us to be the change. Challenges, especially in tough economic times, drive opportunities for growth and innovation.”

Khensani Khoza’s journey from craving to culinary entrepreneur serves as an inspiring reminder that with passion and perseverance, even the smallest seed can grow into a mighty tree.