• Chef Mmabatho Molefe‘s modern Zulu food at Emazulwini restaurant at Makers Landing at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is a celebration of her culinary heritage and childhood food memories through the lens of 21st-century fine dining. Now, the restaurant’s dockside location has been transformed, with pared-back neutral tones brought to life with the use of bold blues and reds and beautiful and unique furniture and lighting by local designers.

    Chef Mmabatho Molefe Photographed by Paris Brummer

    The gorgeous new space, which has become a stage for a developing South African aesthetic that pays respect to its heritage while charting the way forward in global style, is the result of a collaboration between Clout/SA, a purpose-driven creative agency and business-to-business market maker, and young interior designer Walter Train.

    Walter Train Photographed by Warren Talmarke

    Train, whose practice is informed by his own diverse heritage, describes his work as sitting at the intersection of two seemingly disparate worlds: one a Nguni upbringing rooted in family and culture, the other a western lineage intimately part of his birth. Says Tracy Lynch, one of Clout/SA’s managing executives, ‘Train is a young, talented designer with a strong connection to his South African heritage and roots, which made him a great collaborating interior designer for the project.’

    Emazulwini restaurant Photographed by Paris Brummer

    Train brought to life his concept, which was partly inspired by the surroundings of the restaurant’s dockside location, with the help and guidance of Clout/SA, which facilitates opportunities for companies to support and collaborate with South African designers. The result is a space that features the work of local designers and makers, fabrics and materials. 2020 Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) finalist and 2022 Decorex Cape Town Best New Talent award winner Siviwe Jali’s ‘NoKhanya’ light, which was made in collaboration with Ashanti Design, hangs alongside 2016 Nando’s HYD winner Thabisa Mjo’s ‘Tutu 2.0’ lights. Meanwhile, chairs and tables from designers such as Houtlander, David Krynauw and Kent & Lane fill the space.

    Emazulwini restaurant Photographed by Paris Brummer

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    Picture: Emazulwini restaurant Photographed by Paris Brummer