The Sunday Mail
Zimbabweans are celebrated the world over for being innovative, enterprising and hardworking.
At a time when some think making a breakthrough in business in their own countries is an immense task, there are Zimbabwean entrepreneurs who move in, conquer and establish unique business brands.
Where many firms and individuals that go global at times come out counting losses, Dr Tapiwa Guzha, is among a rare breed of Zimbabwean entrepreneurs who will be remembered for making a name in foreign land.
Dr Guzha has managed to create a thriving brand that has made a mark across the Limpopo River in South Africa — Cape Town, to be precise.
Tapi Tapi, a Shona idiom for yum yum, has become a flourishing brand in one of Africa’s iconic tourist resorts.
Dr Guzha, who is the founder of Tapi Tapi Desserts on the southern tip of the continent, is devoted to the recognition of African foods that he defines as both nutritional and medicinal.
He points out that he decided to create a range of ice-creams that celebrate African flavours to overcome native perceptions that ignore the richness of the indigenous ingredients.
This man makes desserts with what many in Zimbabwe could call unorthodox ingredients to come up with a very different, and absolutely special, taste (African) profile in his ice-creams.
His catalogue of desserts includes red finger millet ice cream, fish ice-cream (made of dried kapenta), matamba ice cream and he also uses dried black jack (tsine) for a herby flavour in some of them, to mention a few of his Afrocentric produce.
In an excerpt from an interviews with CapeTalk Radio, Dr Guzha emphasised on the need to embrace some indigenous African dishes, which are undoubtedly rich, doing away with the perception that “our own” is not really good enough.
“It is shocking that we live in Africa and our food is heavily European,” he said.
“I have got nothing against European food, but I don’t really understand why we do not have a lot more of our own foods and our culture being celebrated on the continent.
“There is an abundance of grains, fruits and produce that we see as pedestrian and regular but it is really amazing for me, ice cream is the nice way for you people to try our own cuisines.”
The organic nature of his produce is what really makes these desserts outstanding, especially when one looks at the prominence being given to organic foods of late.
On his CapeTalk Radio interview, Dr Guzha says: “I have always had a sweet tooth and growing up I loved to help my grandmother with baking.
“As an adult, I moved into ice-cream where I decided to bring together my passion for desserts with my love for African culture and stories.”
Dr Guzha is a molecular biologist, who is currently a research fellow in the Department of Genetics at Stellenbosch University, and that about sums up his versatility. But that does not seem to be what he really craves for.
“I’m happy as a scientist. I enjoy doing it and I’m inquisitive about nature and how things work. But academia has a way of taking things away.
“You must only do research that you know will get you that funding and get published. I don’t think it’s a sustainable model for me.
“I need something that speaks to me a lot more,” he says.
His menu is constantly evolving in response to seasonal variations in local produce and has managed to create 60 flavours to date.
These included black jack and olive oil, pumpkin and peanut butter, baked clay and vanilla, malted millet, nyii, mawuyu, matamba, sour milk, tsenza, hute, mazhanje and loads more.