Department of Coffee
Wongama Baleni hails from the Indwe, Eastern Cape, but grew up in Cape Town where he attended Iqhayiya High School. Baleni first worked in a number of jobs from petrol attendant to fire fighter before becoming a full-time entrepreneur. His first venture was a laundry and car wash, but everyone was doing the same thing and he was determined to create a business that no-one else had done before in Khayelitsha. Thus, together with friends Vuyile and Vusi, the idea for a barista style coffee shop was born. To achieve his dreams, Baleni attended business workshops, took part in an entrepreneurship course and met with industry mentors. Following the launch of the Department of Coffee in 2012, he and his business partners were one of 20 winners of the SAB KickStart Competition in 2014 and of the LaunchLab Pitching Competition in 2018. Baleni participated in the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s Small Business Academy Development Programme and graduated in 2015.