Lalibela Ethiopian restaurant is a family business that is co-owned by Mr Genene Nengesha and Mrs Nengesha. The restaurant, located in central Bellville, is named after the famous “Lalibela from one rock” church that was built 2000 years ago in Ethiopia.  

Lalibela is an unassuming eatery that serves authentic Ethiopian fare in a setting evoking traditional Ethiopian culture.  I met with Mr Nengesha at his restaurant to better understand what it takes to set up and run your own business in Bellville.

What is your business called, and what does your company do?

Our business is called Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant and it’s located in Vlei Street, Bellville Central. The restaurant specialises in Ethiopian traditional cuisine and uses spices and coffee beans from Ethiopia. We cater for a range of tastes including people from different cultures and backgrounds. The restaurant also do catering for business and conferences around the area.

What made you decide to go into this particular business venture?

I am a very cultural person and having my own traditional restaurant was one of my goals.  Before I came to Bellville, I had a business in Johannesburg that sold spices and powders, importing them from Ethiopia.  I then decided that having a traditional restaurant would be a good investment and a different direction – since everyone from my country usually opens a clothing shop or a hair salon – and besides the risks are also less.

How long have you been running your business in Bellville?

It officially launched in late 2014.

What attracted you to do business here?

For foreign people, Bellville provides the kind of business freedom which is not enjoyed in townships and other places; and the rent in other towns are ridiculously expensive, they don’t offer value for money.

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What opportunities has Bellville created for you?

Bellville has brought a lot of opportunities for me.  It is close to our target market; almost 80% of our customers are from Ethiopia and live in Bellville.  It is easier for people to come in and have lunch here.

Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?

Wow. A years’ time! I would like to expand my business, attract more people through advertising, networking and basically getting my business well known.  I would also like to open a school that will teach people how to cook. My wife is a professional chef so she can facilitate the running of the school.

You can find Lalibela Ethiopian restaurant on Vlei Street in Bellville Central.