Madiba will live on!
That’s the message from the South African restaurant’s chef and owner Mark Henegan, who spoke exclusively to Fort Greene Focus.
As we reported last December, Madiba — located at 195 DeKalb Avenue since 1999 — ran into financial peril due to a combination of rent increases, high-interest debts, and tax issues.
Fortunately, the beloved neighborhood institution has found its footing thanks to a crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo called #SaveMadiba — which collected $20,000 — as well as a successful renegotiation with the landlord.
Not only will Madiba remain at its current location, but the storefront was recently touched up with improvements, such as a fresh paint job and decorations.
“Everything’s good! We are opening a rooftop garden,” Henegan told us.
Madiba, which has hosted the likes of South African President Jacob Zuma and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will also accommodate more private parties, and Henegan intends to hold events in public spaces like parks. Nelson Mandela’s personal chef will visit the establishment later this year.
Madiba’s well-regarded menu remains intact. The restaurant has become part of the fabric of the community, playing host to a series of regulars, who come for favorites like the umngquoshgo stambu, a sort of hominy and bean stew.
While Madiba may have run into trouble last year, the owners of the venerable South African restaurant say they are optimistic about 2016 and beyond.
“We are looking forward to another 17 years,” said Henegan.