Siba Mtongana, a culinary entrepreneur tour de force — Lionesses of Africa

As a sassy entrepreneur and formidable businesswoman, Siba Mtongana is no stranger to firsts or stand-out achievements. Her most recent major accomplishments include the following:

  • The launch of Siba the Restaurant at Cape Town’s most sought after address, the Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. This fine dining destination comprises a sumptuous showcase of authentic African flavours finessed with a contemporary flair. Siba the Restaurant has already established itself as an ‘it’ destination for food fanatics.

  • Subsequent to the success of her best-selling, multi award-winning My Table, Siba has gone on to publish her first cookbook for young cooks (and the young at heart!). Let’s Cook, featuring Siba’s son, Lonwabo, is the culmination of many years of making meals that nourish the whole family, while specifically pleasing young palates – not an easy feat! No wonder Ms Sibalicious is hailed as the ‘lunchbox queen’ by guardians and parents who’ve found new ways to pack a punch with school meals that young ones love to munch on! 

  • Siba’s career journey has been so uniquely phenomenal, that it is now taught as a case study in the Ivy League and globally acclaimed Harvard University – and in their MBA Programme, no less. It proves that as a pioneering businesswoman and owner of The Siba Co, a Food Solutions and Innovation Holdings Company, the beautiful Ms Sibalicious – a former model – also has the brains to power it all.

  • So global is down-to-earth Siba’s appeal that prime publications including Tatler Magazine Malaysia, New African Magazine and Food Network Magazine USA have all featured her as a food icon. Food Network Magazine USA featured her in their special star-studded edition guest edited by the one and only Sunny Anderson, while New African Magazine called her one of the 100 most influential Africans in any category.

  • Building on her already stellar career as a prime time Food Network star and award-winning TV celeb chef, the hottest new reality cooking show format, House of Chefs, seconded Siba to be the judge on the show in its debut 2021 series. The prize? Cash, plus the most coveted opportunity on the African continent: a chance to work directly under Ms Mtongana’s expert tutelage at her much-loved restaurant, Siba The Restaurant.

  • Topping it all was Tatler Malaysia who, in August 2020, unapologetically hailed her as a ‘food goddess’ that stood shoulder-to-shoulder with kitchen superstars Nigella Lawson and Rachael Ray.

More about Siba

Siba obtained her degree in Food and Consumer Sciences at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town in 2003. After working as a magazine food editor and food consultant at large, she was snapped up by Food Network to present her own series, Siba’s Table. Siba became a household name in 135 countries globally, garnering an iconic following. She has gone on to win five US Film and Television Awards and four awards locally. The soft-spoken kitchen maestro has whipped up edible masterpieces for kings, queens and presidents. As a charismatic culinary queen, she continues to be one of the most in-demand celeb chefs, locally and abroad. As a food specialist and business innovator, she has worked as a bespoke menu curator, creator and recipe development technician for some of the biggest hospitality clients and big-name events, both in South Africa and abroad, through her company, The Siba Co.

Siba says, “I feel blessed and privileged to be living my passion and bringing joy to others through what I produce,’ says Siba. ‘I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the continued support and love from my fans as well as my industry peers, many of whom I look up to. My hope is to keep making my incredibly Sibalicious fans and supporters proud by showcasing our collective heritage with a contemporary appeal, so that together we can maintain Mzansi’s rightful place as a must-visit food destination.” 

What’s next? All we know is, Siba’s been working on her next top-secret, passion project for over two years, and it’s something you don’t want to miss! Stay tuned.

Lioness Weekender chatted to Siba Mtongana to find out more about her entrepreneurial journey, her achievements to date, and her plans for the future.

When did your start your business?

The Siba Co was started in 2013 where I was the only employee and consultant to the business at the time. We have, however, grown to a total of over 45 employees including consultants and suppliers.

What does your company do?

The Siba Co is a multifaceted food solution and innovation holdings company with interests in media, television, publishing, hospitality and retail.

What inspired you to start your company?

Initially it was the freedom to be able to craft and curate an offering that I saw was the missing link in the market and being able to act at speed without corporate red tape. It was also a way of satisfying my entrepreneurial aspirations with being able to add value in people’s lives through the different offerings I had in mind, as well as through craft, skills, development and employment. Hence, it gives me much pleasure to be able to do what I do as I see the direct impact it has on those that work for The Siba Co in being able to provide for their family even at these very trying times.

Why should anyone use your service or product?

We are a proudly South African company lead by a strong pioneering black South African female bringing innovative ways of how we can best serve our patrons and clientele as well as our community at large. In the very heart of our business is a sense of sharing and you’ll find this runs through all our offerings, from when you buy a Siba product or service there is someone in the chain who benefits, whether it be employment and our other charitable works we do as a company. We pride ourselves in being world class, proudly rooted in Africa, with headquarters in Cape Town. We are brave and bold to explore uncharted territories in various industries with pizazz and style such that we are often the first or the pioneers. We pride ourselves in offering excellent experiential products, services and more. Our 2 cookbooks have over 4 awards both local and internationally. Our TV shows have won over 5 premium awards in USA alone and in just a few months of opening our restaurant at the VA Waterfront, Siba – The Restaurant has now become an iconic fine dining destination in the Cape Town.

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

I come from very humble beginnings and I am the first official entrepreneur in my family. So when Harvard Business School approached us to do a case study on my entrepreneurial journey, I knew that we must certainly be on the right track. Any entrepreneur will tell you that the road to business success is no small feat. However, through persistence, perseverance, being able to pivot and the right kind of support; trials become all worth it in the end! I am very happy I made the leap of faith many years ago and this is the path I have carved for myself. What keeps me going when the going gets tough is the rewards of the results. Equally so, when there are no results with a fair amount of time, it’s a sign that we are not on track.

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

Our future plans are to grow our 1 to 5 year plan and expanding on The Siba Co business interests.

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

Being able to craft my time in a way that works for my family and also seeing my dreams fulfilled whilst enabling other people’s in the process through career and employment opportunities.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?

Much to say! However, key pointers would be prepare as much as you can before taking the leap of faith. Count the cost, make sure it’s a cultivated risk, but also remembering that even when you are most prepared you’ll may still feel you are under prepared! In those times be gentle with yourself and remind yourself that some things are only learnt once the journey begins and that is okay. In your travel bag, please make sure to take perseverance, diligence, and enthusiasm with you as they will keep you going when there are key roads. Remind yourself of the sweet rewards at the end of the journey. Lastly, pat yourself in the back for being brave enough to walk the road less travelled.

To find out more about Siba’s journey and her entrepreneurial business offerings, contact or visit the company website: and social media platforms:


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