If you reside in Hout Bay or Constantia, you would have visited Black Box Coffeeworks on the Nek. If you have treated yourself to one of their delectable coffees, then you would definitely have been greeted by the smiling face of Nelson Lotrin.

Nelson was Black Box’s first employee and joined the company six months after its inception in November 2017. Heย is famous among Black Box’s loyalists who affectionately know him as ‘Captain Nelson’.


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Meet the newest member of the squad. Nelson, keep doing what you’re doing my man ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿผ

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Nelson has shared in many of the happy memories Black Box has created on Constantia Nek and is a revered member of the team. Often on social media you can see the antics of the team and the fun that they have serving up the best coffee in Cape Town.

On Sunday, September 6 a fire tore through Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, where Nelson resides. In the wake of the devastation, majority of his home and belongings were destroyed.

Nelson had to evacuate his home at 2 am on Sunday and arrived at work later that morning, despite the tragic event. Nelson spoke to Cape Town Etc about his experience.

“What I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced is not good. It’s hectic. People have lost a place to sleep. I’ve managed to save what I could,” he said.

He continued in saying that he is feeling sad but that he is extremely grateful for the support he has received so far. “I want to thank the City for their support in giving materials to people to rebuild their houses.

“What I have experienced is bad. This is the first time in my life seeing something like that. It’s not good, it is bad. People can’t buy stuff for themselves because they are jobless. People are hungry. The kids, they have no place to sleep. They are building something just to cover themselves and then that’s it. It’s not good to see something like that happening,” Nelson said.

“This is what makes us strong though, to move forward. Again thank you to everyone for their support,” he concluded.

Hundreds of people have been displaced in Imizamo Yethu after the devastating fire.

Now, co-owners Benn Koene and Yorke Searra are trying to raise funds and collect various household items to help get Nelson back on his feet. Kitchen appliances such as a stove, a microwave and a table and chairs are among the list of things Nelson needs.

“He lost his stove, microwave, cupboard and table among many other valuables, including a large portion of his house. Fortunately there is still a room left for him to sleep in, which is extremely lucky. Any donations would make a significant difference to helping Captain back on his feet. If you have anything in mind you can contact us via Instagram or drop off at the box on Constantia Nek. Thank you so much for your on-going love and support. I know this is merely a speed bump in the road, but every bit counts,” said Black Box in a social media post.

Benn Koene spoke to Cape Town Etc and said: “He managed to save most of his clothes. But a table, chairs and otherwise just money to donate. However big or small it is. Iโ€™m trying to get enough together to potentially buy him a small space or build a new space.” According to Koene, Nelson was renting the home that he lived in.

If you are in a position to make a financial contribution to help Nelson build a home or if you are able to donate any of the above mentioned items, please consider helping this hard-working and kind man.

Donations can be made to:

Benn Koene
branch code: 250655
Acc number: 62746776684
Cheque account

Ref: Captain Nelson

Images: Benn Koene



Article written by

Imogen Searra