It was announced this morning that Shane Swiegelaar, the founder of the Cape Town restaurant chain, The Girllfather, has died.
The announcement was made on the company’s social media accounts and the company also noted that all Grillfather branches would be closed for the day.
Born and raised in Houtbay, Shane’s love for good food started with his mother who was known to the community as Auntie Henna.
Auntie Henna’s mouth-watering foods were known to all in the community, her famous curries and brownies being in huge demand at the parties she catered to.
Her son Shane however, first had to find his own way before he got back to what he was meant to do, which was to make mouth-watering foods like his mom.
After completing his studies at Cape Technikon, Shane’s taste for adventure and opportunity took him into many professions, businesses and countries.
He started by working as a supervisor at Hout Bay Fishing before venturing into the nightclub industry as a bouncer and then as a manager at the Wynberg Sports Club.
During this time, his beloved mom died and being the good son that he is, he moved back to Hout Bay to be with his dad.
When he was 30 and had experienced a wide variety of what South Africa had to offer, he decided that he needed to look beyond South Africa, moving to London where he worked as a bouncer and hotel porter.
He eventually moved back to Cape Town where managed a Stones Bar, eventually investing into nightclub franchise.
However, he exited the nightclub industry when he realised that questionable elements were starting to move in and he was a good kid that did an honest day of work.
At his home in Mitchell’s Plain, he started doing spit braais, catering to companies who liked what he had to offer.
He eventually transformed his garage into a kitchen, word spreading of his delicious burgers and meats.
Seeing an opportunity to expand, he found a bigger space on business premises in Mitchell’s Plain and opened his first restaurant, The Grillfather.
In just 4 years, the astute businessman went from operating his business in a garage to owning two restaurants in Mitchell’s Plain and Woodstock; and another on its way in Kuils River.
After the news of his passing broke, condolences started pouring in, most notably to his wife, Tina who had started the business with him.
He has been described as a kind and generous human being who believed in others and made them believe in themselves.
It is clear that he was a beloved figure and will be missed by his family and by those whose lives he has changed for the better.