I’m a firm believer that ambition is the key to achievement. Believing in your dream is only the first step, but making that dream a reality lies in your resilience and your willingness to press on despite the odds. Sihle Magubane’s story, the owner of South Africa’s first independently black-owned coffee brand, is certainly proof that you can achieve anything with the right determination.
The 32 year old entrepreneur, who describes his coffee-making journey as something that happened “by chance”, became a breadwinner for his family at just the age of 16- after losing his mom. Striving to make ends meet while looking after his younger siblings, Magubane took part-time jobs while he was still at school. Little did he know that one of those part-time jobs would lead him to the path that would make his dreams come true…
Originally from Durban, the young man was working as a cleaner for a barista when he fell in love with coffee-making and after noticing how intrigued Sihle was about the coffee business, the barista offered him an opportunity to study and train at Ciro Coffee Academy in Johannesburg. Magubane worked hard to enhance his skills as a barista, working with leading brands as a product specialist in the process.
Tony Gaskins once said that if you don’t build your own dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs. Determined to build his own dream and to make his mark in the coffee industry, in 2012, Sihle launched his own coffee brand called Sihle’s brew- the first black-owned coffee brand.
“I am proof that despite adversity you can start a business with just about no money in the bank. All you need is drive and willpower,”
The passionate barista and business-owner currently sells his brands to selected Food Lover’s Market outlets in Johannesburg, selected retailers in Pretoria and a few stores in Botswana. Keeping it strictly African, he sources coffee beans from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.
Sihle’s brew offers five blends of coffee namely Java Press, Espresso, Signature, Decaf and Original. He currently employs 10 people, three of which are permanently employed. Future plans include having his very own factory where he can do the processing himself.
One cup of African excellence: yes please!