Once upon a time a little shop was born…and so begins The Story

The Story(1)
This shop invites patrons to be part of a heart-warming story.

The most beautiful, spacious, light and airy little country cottage shop has just opened its doors on the main street of Tarkastad in the Eastern Cape.

The Story, as the charming little shop is known, will sow all of its profits into meeting specific needs in the community. And it will share the story of each need with visitors by writing it up on a prominent blackboard in the shop. April’s proceeds will be used to help a diligent student who lives in the local Zola township to realise his dream of representing his school in athletics in New Mexico, USA.

thestory capos
Garvin Willemse helps The Story manager Sarah-Jane Varkevisser to make the perfect cappuccino.

The non-profit shop falls under the umbrella of iThemba Trust which has run since 2007 purely to serve the rural Eastern Cape community. The Trust administers its projects and activities on the 1 000 hectares of green thornveld and mountains of Orange Grove farm, just five kilometres out of town. 

Besides a thriving vegetable gardening project, outdoor adventure centre and equine therapy centre, an independent school called Plumb Line has been the flagship project of the Trust to date. The school provides quality private Christian education to approximately 100 students from pre-school to Grade 12. About 40 percent of the students come from significantly poor, in some cases even illiterate, backgrounds in the surrounding rural community, and all of their educational and hostel needs are covered by donors affiliated with the Trust. 

The Story is the newest project of iThemba Trust. The store sells cottage-style furniture, home decor and gifts in the rustic, English country house feel, as well as local produce such as jams and preserves. The interior opens up onto a green back garden, and visitors can enjoy excellent coffee, or choose from the daily milkshakes up on the blackboard, as well as from a variety of freshly prepared light meal options. 

The iThemba Trust council determines which local needs will be blessed by the store’s profits. Siyamthando Siyo, the first beneficiary, is a a secondary student at Plumb Line, who has received a nomination through the school’s affiliation body of Accelerated Education Enterprises (AEE) to attend the student convention in New Mexico, to represent his school in athletics. He has excelled in his studies and as a leader at the school. 


So, do pop in and visit Tarkastad’s new little gem on Grey Street, and enjoy some unique time out. While you are there, make some time to listen to the great stories that are being told – about lives being changed and dreams being dreamed – in the little town with the big heart. The shop is open from 8.30am to 4pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and from 8.30am to 12pm on Tuesday and Saturday. The shop is also available for evening bookings. You can find out more by calling Sarah-Jane Varkevisser at 072 893 8015 or by visiting the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Story.



  1. What an awesome project!
    Well done for such an inspirational idea! Would love to visit some day, we arefar from you though, but, in the meantime will pray for you & tell others about the work that you do!

  2. Kitty Phillips and her team are an inspiration to anyone fortunate enough to meet them.

  3. Fantastic gorgeous blessed coffee shop…a must to visit !!!

  4. Just reading Your Story is an inspiration and encouragement to me. You have harnessed Imagination to Jesus’ calling on your lives! May God prosper His work in and through your lives!

  5. What an awesome idea!!! All of God’s richest blessings as you start and pioneer this great work!!!!!!!

  6. I know them.

  7. I just want to wish you Gods blessings with your project.