Experience a fusion of authentic township hospitality and modern luxury in the heart of Umlazi.

Editorial by Galia Hillhouse, Durban Routes

 “It’s a tourist place. A place that brings people together. People get to eat meat together, to talk and to meet for business”. Max Mqadi

Max’s Lifestyle started out as a modest little butchery, offering a “buy and braai” Shisanyama service. Lounging within the sophisticated comfort of Max’s Lifestyle’s VIP Lounge today, you may find it difficult to picture Max’s as it once was, back in 2002 – an operation run from a simple one-room building, or “shack”, as Max refers to it. That humble venue, set beside the calm waters of a stream and in front of a bustling taxi rank, soon proved to be an oasis for parched and hungry commuters. When the taxi rank was eventually relocated by the local municipality, the customers remained; as did a generous parking area for potential patrons. The next step was to fill these parking spots, and an extra room was added to the existing building, to house a liquor store and “take-away”. Before long, to accommodate the growing demand, an entertainment deck was constructed over the stream. Max’s Butchery had become Max’s Lifestyle venue. The Shisanyama fires continued to send out smoke signals and delicious aromas, drawing in new patrons and kindling a dream within the heart of a man. Not even the countless refusals from financial institutions were able to quench this fire, and in 2009, Max faced his fear and self-funded the first phase of development. It was a make or break situation, where he stood to lose everything; but he kept his eyes on his dream and would not be dissuaded. As the buildings rose, so did the turnover, and soon the phenomenon of Max’s started to spread like wildfire. One phase of building led into the next and now, 14 years later, Max’s Lifestyle has become an institution in Durban, if not South African township culture. Corporates, celebrities, international tourists and locals of all races and places meet here, to enjoy sizzling Shisanyama and warm hospitality, Kasie-style.


Kasie                        Ethnic Township Location

Shisanyama        Meat barbecued over flaming coals

Wors                        Traditional South African beef sausage, prepared with coriander and other spices.

Read all about Shisanyama on our blog: www.durbanroutes.co.za


Meet Max Mqadi – the name behind the brand!

Max is a shrewd businessman, no doubt about it. He is also a devout family man, and passionate about making a difference in the community of Umlazi, where he was born and raised. By mentoring young, aspiring entrepreneurs, he is successfully giving back to a community that has supported him in his quest to realise his dream.


Q              If you could say one thing to your former self, looking back to 2002, what would it be?

A               Dedication and hard work – that makes the difference. Always focus on focus on your dream and your vision. Hard work pays.

Q              Tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur. What are some of the philosophies you’ve adopted along the way?

A               Focus on your vision. Don’t copy. And make sure that you inspire people. You must build your own dream and you must build your own legacy.

Q              How would your friends and family describe you?

A               Strict, hard-working. A never-give-up person and a go-getter.

Q              Why is excellence important to you?

A               Whenever you do anything, you must make sure that it is perfect. People must see that you have done it properly, without a rush. I’m very passionate about quality.

Q              What would you regard as one of the most important milestones in the past 14 years.

A               To be named among the best restaurants in the world, and the best restaurant in Africa.

Q              What impact, in your opinion, does Max’s have on the community of Umlazi?

A               It is to change the lives of people. As you know government can’t do it on their own. They need us, as entrepreneurs, to change the lives of people. So I’m very involved. I come from a poor background, so this is always in my heart: to help to change the lives of my community of Umlazi.

Q              What is your vision for Max’s Lifestyle?

A               My vision is to take Max’s Lifestyle to the cities of Cape Town and Jo’burg. After that I want to see my brand internationally. It’s already there with in name, but practically I would like to see it overseas.

Q              Who are some of the people who have contributed to your success here?

A               The people who have supported me most are my family, including my mother, who has since passed away. I also have role models who keep me walking, like Dr Irvin Khoza – Chairman of the Orlando Pirates Football Club and the Premier Soccer League;  and Nelson Mandela because of his journey. I always feel like crying when a person comes from nothing, and rises to something great.  A person with a vision knows what he wants.

Q              What makes Max’s Shisyama experience unique?

A               We offer the best hospitality. Whenever you come here, you choose your meat and it is braai’d for you. We sell quality meat and produce our own wors, with our own blend of spices.

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