Here’s something we can all agree on: It’s nice to see good things happen to good people.
And anybody who knows Justice knows what I’m talking about.
Justice Shamba is one of my favorite people that I encounter during my frequent outings in the town of Stellenbosch, where I live. Earlier this year, I used to see him nearly every morning after class at my favorite local yoga studio on Andringa Street. He worked next door, serving up Hazz coffee behind a neighboring retail shop window.
Because of the pandemic, I hadn’t seen Justice since March. Actually, since the day before South Africa’s original 21-day lockdown began. I remember going to bid him farewell with a bag of biltong and some well-wishes. And I found myself thinking of him and his family often during the 21-days that inevitably became six months of national lockdown.
Alas, to make a long lockdown story short…I have good news:
Justice is now back in business on Andringa Street, and a small-business owner! Coffee at Justice opened September 1st (the first day of spring here in the Southern Hemisphere) and as of today, it’s officially been open for exactly one month and one week.
Coffee at Justice occupies half of The Missing Sock on the corner of Andringa and Plein Streets— a mere 50 steps from his old spot down the block, in the center of downtown Stellies.
I’ve been going back to yoga classes for over a month now. Since I don’t have a car, I walk past Justice’s new digs on my walks to and from the studio. He always gives me a warm greeting and a smile on my way there. And whether I want coffee or not, I always visit Justice and say hello after class. (Let’s be honest—I always want a coffee.)
But never once have I passed by in these past five weeks without seeing a queue, or a person chatting with Justice through his window.
I’ve often joked with him, calling him “the most popular man in Stellenbosch,” even before he established Coffee at Justice.
Maybe it’s because he’s a steadfast supplier of caffeine, but I think his obvious success of his new business has less to do with the beans and all to do with the person brewing them. (Don’t get me wrong —Coffee at Justice exclusively uses local Terbodore Coffee— the beans are excellent!)
I noticed rather quickly that Mr. Shamba and I have something in common— we’re both really good at remembering names and faces. This is a trait that proves particularly useful when you’re a barista. I’ve noticed that Justice greets nearly every person by name when they walk up to his window, or into the shop. To quote the Cheers theme song, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” Sometimes, it’s just nice to have genuine interactions with, and a vested interest in the people you encounter everyday.
When Justice isn’t busy behind the counter, he’s at his home home in Belville with his beautiful wife and two young children, Emmanuel and Natanya (who is only ten months old!) We often talk about God when I visit him. Today, when I commented on how busy he has been since his opening, he told me how God is responsible for all of his success. Every blessing that Justice receives, he gives it back to God. His gratitude is as apparent to customers as his work ethic.
Also, in case it wasn’t obvious from the photos, he’s got a smile that could (in the event of loadshedding) power the whole block. A smile that, when greeted by it, one can’t help but smile back.
If you find yourself strolling through downtown Stellenbosch in the sunny future, make sure to swing by and introduce yourself to Justice. Stay for one of the best cups of coffee in town, and a lekker chat with the expert barista and entrepreneur who poured it.
To read a bit more about Justice and his new business, here are a few local media pieces I found while doing a bit of research on this post: ‘Renowned Stellenbosch barista opens coffee shop’ (Matie Media), and ‘Coffee at Justice- a new business dream come true’ (Stellenbosch News).