Tebogo Mabye overcame a life of living on the streets and in shelters to open a coffee shop… and he got a little help from the Lions Rugby players in the process.
Johannesburg, South Africa – Tebogo Mabye who prefers to be known as Tebza, has a story so inspiring the Lions Rugby squad got behind him!
Tebza spent parts of his life in shelters in Hillbrow; his mother did everything in her power to provide for him. While he was growing up, they were homeless for some of the time. The shelters in the area became his home, his foundation. While his mother was out looking for work, Tebza became involved with the ‘Mould Empower Serve’ organisation. He called it a turning point in his life.
“The biggest turning point was when MES (Mould Empower Serve) an organisation that works in the inner city got involved in mentoring and helping me develop into the man that I am today, having older people to talk to and just learn from and that was when I was introduced to coffee, well “real” coffee that is.”
“Brewing coffee became a daily thing for me, especially when I started working for MES as an intern, I would start my day with a cup of coffee and drinking coffee became a culture in the office, whenever we had meetings with my mentor and manager we would have it at a coffee shop or just have meetings while drinking coffee.
Through that, I had a wild dream to someday open up a coffee shop, so that I could get the chance to meet different people but beyond that, I could be able to inspire the youth and kids in Hillbrow to go out and reach for their dreams.”
Tebza opened his coffee shop and paid homage to his home town by calling it the ‘Hillbrewed Coffee Co’. His dream was finally alive and thriving. But the business was quiet, and things got hard.
As his business was a start-up, they weren’t meeting their daily targets, the Lions Rugby players heard his story and started to support the coffee shop.
“The Lions Rugby players were a huge turning point for the business, before they started coming through for their morning coffee and sandwich we were not meeting our daily target and I couldn’t pay the guys that were helping me, couldn’t even pay myself, but now since the players come through almost every day I am able to pay the guys I work with and also pay the bills.”
The team revived life into Tebza’s dream and helped his business succeed. He is so grateful for the support and hopes to see his business grow. He hopes to someday open more branches and franchise his business.
“I am honestly grateful to have them come through, they always bring up my spirit whenever they come through and just always motivate me and give me some advice. The players also gave this place some street cred, some people come through to just see if they can spot a player or two while they are having coffee.”
Not only does Tebza hope to see his business grow, he now has dreams to use it to better organisations like MES and improve the lives of inner-city children.
“We drew inspiration from guys like The Whippet (in Linden), for me if Hillbrewed can become something like them then my dream would have come true but the biggest thing is for the company to have a huge impact in the inner city, to be able to give back to the organisations like MES that are Changing the Heart of The City and bring hope to some many people in the city.”
Tebza’s story is inspiring and seeing the Lions invest in him is even more so. Below you can see some of the guys who visit to have their morning coffee.
You can find out more about Hillbrewed Coffee Co. on Facebook here.