Helping others to help themselves

Hangar 18 situated in Woodbridge business park.

Giving to charity can now be as simple as buying a sandwich.

Hangar 18, a cafe at Woodbridge business park, on Koeberg Road, is part cafe, part learning centre. It has been furnished and put together from the crafts produced by vendors who normally sell their wares at the side of the road.

The cafe is managed by Nosisa “Nosi” Matomlobla and Lusanda “Luci” Ngam who were previously unemployed and helped out at the cafe before becoming permanent staff.

Hangar 18, named after the one at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base alleged to contain UFO technology, is the brainchild of Milnerton resident Amanda Solomon and her business partner, Thobekile “Oscar” Nyani.

They heard about the warehouse at the business park and decided to come up with an idea to help others help themselves.

Unemployed people can come to Hangar 18 to learn how to crochet bath mats, which are bought by Just Cotton.

“We provide the supplies and those who work and can crochet up to six mats a day can make a decent living. It is a shoestring business to support ourselves and assist others and everything is made by local vendors,” said Ms Solomon.

The cafe’s tables and chairs are made by a craftsman in Dunoon, and vendors who sell their wares in Montague Gardens made the aluminium dishes.

“There are so many talented people selling things they’ve made themselves,” said Ms Solomon.

The locally made wood and iron benches complement the cafe’s aluminium cutlery, and, while you wait to be served by Nosi or Luci, you can gaze at the knitters silently working their crochet needles and sipping tea between breaks.

“We have put out a call for photographers to put their art up on the wall; we want it to be products of people who need exposure,” said Ms Solomon.

She and Mr Nyani hope to boost Hangar 18’s reach by hosting life skills workshops for poor communities in the future.

Visit the Hanger 18 Facebook page at for more information.