One creative company from Botswana is fighting to change the world. Well, more like cooking to change the world to be more accurate. The company is Maungo Craft, and they are doing this one incredibly delicious hot sauce at a time.
Co-founder Bonolo Monthe recently graduated with from the Master of Business Creation (MBC), a program offered at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. She participated virtually from Africa in the program provided by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah. Her and Olayemi Aganga are the co-founders of Maungo Craft, and they are passionate about upcycling and saving fruit!
This vegan fruity, spicy, and smoky hot sauce has started getting traction in the USA and rightfully so. It is now available on Amazon with a five-star rating and glowing reviews. It is also available at niche stores in Salt Lake City, including Liberty Heights Fresh and the Grove Market.
“Our Roasted Chilli Garlic & Marula Hot Sauce takes you on a culinary joy ride! It’s like having a BBQ on a Saturday afternoon with your friends,” Monthe said. “Enjoy this hot sauce with your burritos, tacos, wraps, baked potatoes, eggs, chicken, veggies … pretty much pour it on anything!”
To get to the heart of their story, we must first start with their name: “Maungo Craft.”
Maungo is a word in Setswana, the language in Botswana. It means fruit as well as being fruitful. Maungo Craft owes its mission to one fruit that grows in abundance in Botswana’s semi-arid dessert environment. The marula fruit tree is the ancient grandfather of the apricot.
The marula tree produces fruit in abundance and is known as the king of African trees. In 2014, the marula tree (called morula in Botswana) was named Botswana’s national tree.
The marula fruit itself, however, is underutilized. The seed oil extracted from the marula fruit is fast becoming an international commodity for its cosmetic properties. Global brands from the Body Shop to Dial now include marula oil in their formulations. However, the fruit is incredibly underused.
“It takes roughly 300 tons of marula fruit pulp to get 12 tons of marula cosmetic oil. The rest of the fruit typically goes underutilized,” Monthe said. “So, we thought to ourselves, we know what happens with the oil, but what happens to all that fruit?”
In 2017 Monthe, her sister Abigail Monthe, co-founder Aganga, and friend Motseoeme Taunyane started making preserves with an effort to save the fruit. They started attending farmer’s markets. They have since introduced sauce and syrups to their range. Maungo Craft has gone on to achieve many firsts in their country. They have had product endorsed by Martha Stewart and received Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Foods. They now supply hospitality, restaurants, gifting, retail with their unique range. Maungo Craft has won 13 awards, locally, regionally, and internationally.
“It is through winning the Gogettaz Agripreneur Award in 2019 that I was introduced to the Generation Africa Family,” Monthe said. “Through Generation Africa, I was able to apply for the MBC and have loved every minute of it! Gogettaz is a competition that chooses only two winners in Africa every year.”
During her time at the MBC, Maungo Craft launched in the USA and became the first food company from Botswana to sell on Amazon, according to Monthe, and their ratings back up the great flavor.
There is no doubting Maungo Craft’s drive and commitment to their mission. They welcome you to order a bottle of their hot sauce on Amazon, or pop into Liberty Heights Fresh or the Grove Market in Salt Lake City. You just might find your next pantry staple and make the world a little bit better in the process.
Learn more about Maungo Craft at maungocraft.com.