The kota gets the Debonairs treatment and South Africans are having none of it


For many South Africans, Debonairs turning the kota into a pizza is just one step too far. A kota, a derivation of the word quarter, is a hollowed out quarter of a piece of bread. Many have compared it to the bunny chow, because it is also a loaf of bread stuffed with a variety of cheap ingredients which may include processed meats like polony and viennas. The kota is popular in many townships and rural communities around South Africa. In an interview for the April 2014 Mango inflight magazine, Johannesburg resident Vuyo Mpantsha said, “Think of the kota as an evolving township street food burger.”

Many middle-class South Africans who grew up in the townships have fond memories of the kota. For them, it is almost a rite of passage, something you have to experience as you struggle through life. For some, the kota is like pap and amagwinya, an integral part of what it means to be a black South African. So when a beloved and popular meal amongst the poor and working class is turned into a cheap commercial venture by a corporate South African food giant, it is understandable why people are outraged.

Gugulethu Mhlunghu called for the fast food chain to explain their latest creation.

And, Debonairs ended up being the most talked-about brand on Twitter in South Africa for several hours.

Most people were disgusted, accusing the fast food chain of appropriating and disrespecting black culture.


Others pointed out that the PizzaKota is the latest in a series of unimaginative food inventions from Debonairs.

Lester KK pizza kota
Despite the criticisms, there are a few who look forward to the PizzaKota.

What do you think of this latest invention? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @thedailyvox!




  1. “Think of the kota as an evolving township street food burger.” says Vuyo Mpantsha. His words indicate that the food has changed over time. Perhaps this could be the next stage in the evolution? The natural selection I have in mind is a crude distortion of the scientific concept but here natural selection means that naturally, people just choose the Debonair’s Kota.

    People need to calm down. If the market enjoys the Debonair’s Frankenstein Kota, then it will succeed and may become the future of fast food. If people dislike it, there will be insufficient demand and it will eventually die … like the other foods in the junk food cemetery.

  2. Debonairs Pizza is always looking at new ways to satisfy their customers. That’s why we recently decided to trial a new product – the Pizza Kota. This tasty innovative product is in celebration of one of South Africa’s most loved foods. This product was never meant to offend our customers but rather to celebrate the diverse culture in South Africa. The Pizza Kota uses pizza dough, baked into a burger-sized, dense bun with a cavity in the middle that is filled with pizza topping ingredients. In our initial development stages the feedback we received was positive as the customers described it as a satisfying snack that reminded them of a Kota or a Bunny chow, hence the name. We welcome all feedback (positive and negative) and will keep adapting our offerings to give consumers what they want.


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