18-year-old girl wins K5m grand prize in 2022 Illovo Sugar Everyday Chef competition

The grand prize winner, Esther Maziya

* The Everyday Chef Campaign approach brings forth an important shift in terms of how the business interacts with its consumers

* It is important that the business continues to find and promote new and innovative ways of interacting with our consumers

By Duncan Mlanjira

Esther Maziya, an 18-year-old Culinary Arts student at Mzuzu University, has won the grand prize of K5 million in the 2022 Illovo Sugar Everyday Chef competition.

Runner-up Pacharo Tembo

Maziya scored 104 points out of 150 points to beat seven other contestants with Pacharo Tembo coming out as the runner-up (K2 million) and Hope Mazuwa on third place taking home K1 million.

The online cooking competition was initiated in August last year and in which the contestants used Illovo Sugar’s refined and dark demerara sugar as part of their ingredients.

At the grand finale of the competition on Wednesday at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre, Illovo Sugar Malawi Managing Director, Lekani Katandula said: “The first campaign proved to be a success and therefore, it is by popular demand that we decided to bring it back this year.


“The Everyday Chef Campaign approach brings forth an important shift in terms of how the business interacts with its consumers. It is important that the business continues to find and promote new and innovative ways of interacting with our consumers.

“We launched the Everyday Chef campaign with this in mind. The main objective of the campaign was the facilitation of simultaneous direct engagement with our consumers across the country.

“What was clear to us last year from the onset of the promotion was that this could only be possible using technology,” Katandula said, adding that the campaign was purposely designed to include online elements to break the geographical barriers for participation.

The promotion was primarily run through the Tseketseke brand Facebook (FB) page and supported by other exciting offline activities such as food truck activations and in-store promotions held in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.

“Including both online and offline engagements, this campaign has assisted us in ensuring that we maximise our consumer interactions and engagements.

“I am pleased to say that this has proved successful, evidenced by the geographical profiles of the participants, winners, and finalists, both from last year’s and this year’s promotion.

“The main aim of the interactions and engagements was to educate and learn from our consumers on the multiple uses of our white refined and dark demerara sugars.”


The Everyday Chef campaign has run for the past eight weeks and Katandula further said what has been apparent to the business in these eight weeks “is the sense of brand affinity demonstrated by the content generated on the Tsketseke brand Facebook page.

“Additionally, it has been amazing to see the interesting and creative ways in which our sugar is used. At the end of this years campaign, we have managed to gain 197 new recipes; 4,191 new fans; 14,738 likes; 60,046 page visits; reach 354,861 people and a direct sampling of 960 consumers.

“Additionally, the campaign page received over 90,000 comments on the competition posts that included entry recipe posts, entrants tagging friends and family to gain votes and others asking for recipe inspiration.”

The finalists came from all corners of Malawi, validating that the use of technology eliminates geographical barriers, whose judges were Ipyana Mwagomba, Thobekile Nthinda, Dyson Chikolera, Portia Alimoyo, and Nelson Dhiba.

Katandula said: “Having read their profiles and followed this process throughout the eight weeks, one thing is clear — these individuals are passionate about food, building their communities and have a strong desire to improve their lives and the lives of their families.”

The inaugural K5 million winner was Lilongwe-based business woman, Manase Munthali, runner-up was Chinsinsi Daudi with K2 million while Hajrah Kusweje was third with K1 million.


Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) and Illovo Sugar Africa Proprietary Limited (Illovo) — through Sucoma Holdings Limited — holds 76% of the issued share capital with the balance of the shares being held by the public and other institutional investors.

Illovo Sugar Africa is the continent’s largest sugar producer with extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six African countries – Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia. Illovo Sugar Africa is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Associated British Foods (ABF), in the United Kingdom.

Illovo Malawi has developed considerable agricultural and milling assets at the Dwangwa estate Nkhotakota and at the Nchalo Estate in in Chikwawa.

Both factories produce raw and refined sugar with the Nchalo factory also manufacturing value-added specialty sugars. All Illovo sugar sold into the local direct consumption market is fortified with Vitamin A to help eliminate micronutrient deficiency particularly in children less than five years of age.


Illovo Sugar Malawi spends K1.1 billion for the fortification program benefitting an estimated two million people and it is one of the country’s largest single private-sector employer — providing direct employment for 9,000 people permanent, seasonal and casual employees and an additional 5,000 direct and indirect contractors creating a total of 14,000 jobs.

Illovo is also a major contributor to the Malawian tax authorities through direct and indirect taxes. It generates valuable foreign exchange through export sugar sales.

Many local industries are dependent upon Illovo for their viability and the employment created by these businesses provides an income base for many more families than are directly employed.

The company further supports an estimated 5,200 smallholder cane farmers through various smallholder schemes.