Lianti and Lizen: social entrepreneurs

Housemother Nosi Danana with social entrepreneurs, Lianti Coetzee and Lizen Gousaard, who recently ran a donations drive for LAbrie de Dieu Safe House, a place of safety in Stellenbosch.

Two years ago, Bolander featured a story about a caring Stellenbosch resident who started a sewing circle in Kayamandi (“Making a difference stitch by stitch”, April 22, 2015).

Lianti Coetzee (nee Loubser) ran weekly classes for moms and grandmothers of pupils from Ikaya School in Kayamandi, with the intention of setting up a non-profit business which would become self-sustaining.

Stitch-a-life, the name of Lianti’s sewing project, is still a going concern, but having lost its principal sponsor, it is looking for a new home.

A few months later, Lianti and business partner, Lizen Gousaard, started twaalf restaurant and bar in the Black Horse Centre, on the corner of Dorp and Market streets in Stellenbosch.

The restaurant, which opened its doors in August 2015, was the culmination of a dream they had shared since working together on a Stellenbosch wine farm in 2013.

“We met at a Kerkstraat ‘street soiree’ – and after our first glass of wine together, knew we’d be friends for life,” says Lianti.

“More glasses of wine, a train trip, a boyfriend, crazy nights on the town, road trips, a wedding and an engagement followed – along with hour-long conversations about how we wanted to open our own restaurant and bar and also make a difference in the community.”

And so twaalf, a place born out of love, passion and the belief that no dream is too big or too small, came to be.

Lizen and Lianti also share a deep love for the community. “We know that if we can change the lives of just a few people, we can make a difference in our community,” says Lianti.

Twaalf has an intern programme where individuals are trained in the different areas of the restaurant industry, as well as being assisted with building a resume and looking for work.

“Our coffees are sold with the option of buying a cup-a-life, a cup of coffee that they, or you, can hand deliver to the homeless people of Stellenbosch,” Lianti says. “Lastly, twaalf has a passion for helping the community and we are always looking for different ways to help the people of Stellenbosch.”

“Because twaalf is a community project, we want to help others achieve their dreams and to help the community in any way we can, so we are always on the lookout for where we can make a difference.”

“Recently we decided to do a clothes drive for the Safe House, L’Abrie de Dieu, a place of refuge in Stellenbosch for women and children from abusive relationships, where they have a big need for women and childrens’ clothing,” says Lianti.

“Since opening its doors, the Safe House has successfully protected, assisted, fed, clothed, counselled, supported, comforted and empowered 435 residents (223 women of all races and religions and 212 young children aged new-born to 18 years old), and also guided over 304 external clients seeking assistance with domestic abuse or violence situations.”

The support of the Safe House is on-going by twaalf. Donations can be dropped of at twaalf restaurant, for delivery to the Safe House. Contact Lianti or Lizen on 021 886 7077 for details.