Chef Mmabatho Molefe’s modern Zulu cuisine offering at Emazulwini restaurant at Makers Landing at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is a celebration of her culinary heritage and childhood food memories viewed through a 21st-century fine-dining lens. Now, the restaurant’s dockside location has been transformed, with pared-back neutral tones brought to vivid life with the use of bold blues and reds, and beautiful and unique furniture and lighting by local designers.
The gorgeous new space, which has become a stage for a developing South African aesthetic that pays respect to its heritage while charting the way forward in global style, is the result of a collaboration between Clout/SA, a purpose-driven creative agency and business-to-business market maker, and young interior designer Walter Train.
Train, whose practice is informed by his own diverse heritage, describes his work as sitting at the intersection of two seemingly disparate worlds: one an Nguni upbringing rooted in family and culture, the other a western lineage intimately part of his birth. Says Tracy Lynch, one of Clout/SA’s managing executives, ‘Train is a young, talented designer with a strong connection to his South African heritage and roots, which made him a great collaborating interior designer for the project.’
Train brought to life his concept, which was partly inspired by the surrounds of the restaurant’s dockside location, with the help and guidance of Clout/SA, which facilitates opportunities for companies to support and collaborate with South African designers. The result is a space that features the work of local designers and makers, fabrics and materials. 2020 Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) finalist and 2022 Decorex Cape Town Best New Talent award winner Siviwe Jali’s ‘NoKhanya’ light, which was made in collaboration with Ashanti Design, hangs alongside 2016 Nando’s HYD winner Thabisa Mjo’s ‘Tutu 2.0’ lights. Meanwhile, chairs and tables from designers such as Houtlander, David Krynauw and Kent & Lane fill the space.
In the new-look Emazulwini, Molefe’s modern take on traditional food now has a setting that echoes its deeply South African roots with a modern global twist. ‘Clout/SA is proud to have initiated and managed an approach that we believe amplifies the incredible energy and food shared by Chef Mmabatho Molefe,’ says Lynch.
For more information about Clout/SA, visit https://clout-sadesign.co.za/ or follow @clout_sadesign
The promotion of South Africa’s creativity, craftsmanship and heritage, as well as the creation of opportunities for collaboration between designers and makers, are at the centre of what Clout/SA does. The purpose-first creative agency’s founding project was the Nando’s Design Programme, and the latest is the Nando’s Portal to Africa, an online shopping platform for designer furniture that has facilitated more than R80 million worth of sales across 20 900 products since it was launched in 2018, making it one of the country’s largest exporters of South African design. Clout/SA also developed and facilitated one of South Africa’s top biennial design competitions, the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search.