Cathy Tshilombo-Lokemba, known by most as Mama Africa, is a local chef and creator of her famous Pili Pili hot sauce and ginger punch. But what most people don’t know about her is she is also an African fashion guru and interior designer. She studied Interior Design in Tournai, Belgium and was one of the first designers to bring African textiles and fashion to the Belgium market when she started a design business after graduating.
“Being creative, you have to be hooked and connected to your creator,” Cathy explains. “We’re given so much creativity, so the more you exercise that, the more it grows. You can’t stop it.”
Growing up, Cathy moved between the United States, Europe and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. She’s lived most of her life in large cities such as New York City, Dallas, Phoenix, Brussels, Kinshasa, and settled in Utah 11 years ago. Over her childhood and teenage years she learned to speak five languages.
“It really empowers you,” she explains about having traveled the world. “You’re not just stuck in your culture, but you have all the different flavors and you can mix it and create something new.”
Cathy can often be found at her restaurant, Mama Africa Grill, where she makes and bottles her Pili Pili sauce and runs her catering business. There you will also find her small boutique with African shirts, dresses and aprons along with African textiles, baskets and hand fans.
To find out more about Cathy you can visit Mama Africa or her Facebook page.