By Itumeleng Lipala
“Kasi Kota started as a fast food shop selling fish, chips, kota, fatcakes and other fast foods,” said Mr Mathe Lethale founder and owner of Kasi Kota in an exclusive interview with Itumeleng Lipala, an intern journalist at Informative Newspaper.
Kasi Kota is located in Maseru district at the heart of Ha Pita, just before the circle in a busy business area.
Today at the mention of the name Kasi Kota we discover much more! Besides offering great customer service, it is popular for the best all night clubbing activities, hosting celebrity events for elite party goers.
“How did the name Kasi Kota come about?” Itumeleng finds out that Kasi is a popular slang term for location in a township therefore, Kasi is Ha Pita. Kota a special type of meal made from a hollowed out ‘quarter’ loaf of bread filled with a selection of meats, eggs and other elective vegetables. That is where the name ‘’Kasi Kota’’ came from and Lethale became popular for making Kotas in Kasi. He is not only known in Lesotho but in South Africa too as he mentions.
“There were no challenges as such when I started this business as I already had a grocery store business. The only challenging issue at the time seemed to be the chosen location for Kasi Kota; not many local residents preferred fast food at the time,” Lethale relates his story.
He adds that Kasi Kota was opened to serve all residents but their regular customers were only certain groups of people during that time.
“I’m a real food lover and food is my priority, that is why I will keep on pushing to be the best in kota making. I was inspired by Mochachos restaurant chicken wings together with Nandos to be the best I could ever be,” he affirms.
At arrival Kasi Kota you realize it is not a fast food kota tuck shop but a full-fledged restaurant. With a kitchen staff complement of eight employees, their menu boasts in-house pizza, specialty kota, tacos, burgers, rotisserie wings and then Mogodu Monday, a tripartite trend by Kasi Kota, Elibo Guesthouse and Cuban Linx.
Lethale has about 47 employees, mostly young people from different locations that he keeps busy day and night at his business. The night club addresses challenges such as reducing the number of unemployed youth, high crime rate, prostitution among youths, as well as other issues that lead young people to roam around streets meaninglessly at night.
Lesotho is a country hard hit mostly by youth unemployment especially among graduates who at times lack required work experience. Despite the economy being stressed, graduates are hopeful that government will soon intervene in their struggle for jobs. Young people are consistently advised to become entrepreneurs, start their own sustainable businesses thereafter create employment opportunities. Lethale’s business has and continues to contribute significantly towards economic development particularly job creation.
He continues “I am not too particular on the kind of people I employ. I hire any individual looking for a job, I even have students and struggling breadwinners as my employees. Some of my workers have educational qualifications for the job required and similarly there are some with no qualifications at all however they are given a chance to work and prove themselves. Having work experience or not, is not an issue.
Lethale is a true social entrepreneur. Whenever there is a big celebrity event, street vendors are given opportunities to set up stalls at the entrance of Kasi Kota from dusk till dawn and that really helps young business owners to raise a lot of money. He has also given certain people an opportunity to collect cans, sell them and feed families while some collect left overs for their animals after every event. The love and support of the society would also contribute a lot in growing Kasi Kota and placing it on the map to represent the country as a whole.
Not a single weekend night is quiet Ha-Pita. From Friday till Sunday socialites from near and far meet at this place known for hosting local and international music celebrity parties. Kasi Kota has hosted Djs like Fresh, Bootz, artists Senior Oat, Knight SA, Lebtronik SA and many others. During these big events it gets so busy an 800 capacity marquee is conjoined to the club structure thus extending attendance to around 1200 people per night. In the coming month’s event they will host amapiano popular DJ Njelic from South Africa. Lethale is not shy to express gratitude for the love and support of his employees and the community provides as a whole.
He voices that “My employees would not be able to receive their salaries if it was not by the support of the society.”
In closing Lethale says he realized that he should keep on improving his business in order for it to grow. Improving the place and making renovations more often, inventing new recipes and improving customer care services. All the good qualities of Kasi Kota in particular the best meals and good music they play, are exactly what keeps it ahead of other night clubs and restaurants.