31-year-old Senegalese national brings his native cuisine to South African shores

Eight years ago, the Senegal born chef and now delivery person and merchant operating on the Uber Eats app, Sadio Kane, arrived in South Africa in hopes of better opportunities. As a young man, Sadio spent most of his childhood making Senegalese meals for his family of nine. 

He describes cooking as one of his passions and says, “In my family, food is one of the things that brought us all together”. His passion for cooking began when he was 16-years old. Being born into a big family of two girls and five boys meant that he had to learn a thing or two to assist his parents around the household and that’s when his mom decided to teach him how to cook. 

When he arrived in South Africa, he went to a culinary school in Johannesburg to sharpen his skills, with the dream of opening his own restaurant. He then relocated to Cape Town in 2015, and within just a few years of hard work, his dream came true in 2020 when he and his wife opened a restaurant, Koumba Kane. “In Senegalese culture, Koumba is a traditional name for people who were born second in their family. My wife was born second in her family and that’s the inspiration behind the name, we then added my family name, Kane. We wanted the name to have something about the both of us”, he adds. 

Starting a business in a foreign country in the midst of a pandemic, with strict lockdowns, was challenging for Sadio and meant that he had to find other ways of promoting his business as soon as restrictions were eased up.  Using the Uber Eats platform was an obvious next move – as the platform allowed him to reach a wider net of customers. 

Despite the pandemic, the restaurant continued to see growth. “The platform has helped to draw in more customers that we couldn’t reach before and for that, I am truly grateful. One of the reasons why he decided to open a traditional food restaurant was because he believes that as Africans, we should be proud of who we are, our heritage and embrace other African cultures and food,” adds Kane.

One of his favourite dishes that he learnt to cook from his mother is Senegalese brown rice, which is among the most ordered dishes from the restaurant. Sadio is hoping to add more dishes from other African countries to his menu as a way of celebrating the diversity Africa has to offer. But until then, Sadio is looking to keep up with all his orders and delivery business.