Soweto Kota Festival – The Good, The Bad and The Delicious!

The first ever Soweto Kota Festival took place at the Soweto Theatre on the 16th and 17th of September 2017.  Patrons flocked in from all corners of the Gauteng province, out of curiosity and to experience a festival that celebrates the much-loved township burger.

The original version Kota is madeup of fresh bread stuffed with hot chips, atchaar, polony, cheese and a russian (the thick one).

Sidwell Tshingilane, the festival organiser, saw a need and demand for an event of this nature.  “The Kota has been here for a long time. In townships, the idea to have a festival came last year when someone complained about how they went to some event in Soweto and there was no Kota in sight. So I developed the idea to do it…” said Tshingilane.

What did the festival goers think of the event?

Some LOVED it


Others were not sure….


The rest were open to the evolution of Kota....


What do we think?

What are the views for some of us who didn’t get to experience the Soweto Kota Festival?  Should we keep Kota as it is and not play around with different variations? Should we experiment with the Kota just like the Italians allowed the rest of the world to experiment with pizza?  Just think about this, we don’t hear Italians saying “That’s our food, stop messing with it and adding unoriginal ingredients to it.”  Because of that, the pizza is great and it is loved all over the world.

There will always be people in the townships selling the original version of Kota.  What about the person who lives in Sandton and suddenly craves for a Kota?  Should they drive all the way to Soweto?  Maybe they should, but on occasions where time is a limiting factor,  it would be great to have a Kota that went to a private school at Rocomamas.  I think we should let the Kota be great, let others come up with new variations.  As one of our heritage foods, it can never lose its originality because we’ll always know where to find the real makoya.

What are your thoughts?  Let’s have a conversation.


Featured Image by Zikhona Gwadiso

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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