Cape Town is never too far from international headlines at the moment as crime and gangsterism grips whole communities. At times it seems bleak but head to Gangstar Café in Mowbray and there you’ll hear stories of hope that go against what the media says. Every barista you meet has broken free from a life of crime and found a new life in Christ.
You’ll meet people like Xola who found himself caught up with the wrong crowd, and was soon smoking drugs and involved in robberies. This landed him in prison and there he found Jesus. When he was released four years ago, he trained as a barista and is now working at Gangstar Café sharing his story. ‘It amazes me how God has turned my life around. He has been so good and faithful to me and I trust him wholeheartedly with my life.’
Xola is just one of the many men you’ll meet in the Mowbray café. Men who were once seen as the problem but are now part of the solution.
Both here and in South Africa our vision is to see even more men and women getting the chance to break free of their old lives and into the full life Jesus wants for them. So we have a vision to grow our enterprise work even further.
In South Africa this has already become a reality. The doors to the country’s first Oaks house have just opened in Mowbray, giving ex-offenders who the prisons team have been working with somewhere to live when they’re released.
Excitingly this happened at the same time as we had the incredible opportunity to open a second Gangstar café in Durbanville, meaning that we can now offer more apprenticeships and jobs than ever before.
Since then the once-empty shop has been given a facelift, and today it’s a bustling business where customers come to enjoy some of the areas finest coffee. But the Gangstar cafés and Message Enterprise Centre are about more than just the businesses, people are at their heart. They’re platforms through which lives are being changed, stories of transformation shared, and a ripple effect of hope is spreading to the local community.
Serving the finest barista coffee, our new speciality coffee shop, Neal Street Espresso, will be opening its doors in Covent Garden, London soon.
With our vision of providing hope and employment to ex-offenders and those at risk of offending at its heart, Neal Street Espresso will be the first Message Enterprise to launch in the capital.
Run in partnership with London City Mission, the opening comes as our prisons work in London grows and will mean we can help more young men and women transform their lives through the love of Christ.
Sign up to get the latest news on the opening and exclusive customer offers at nealstespresso.co.uk