She had an apron on her, was mopping the floor and removing used plates from the tables. 

At first glance, you would think she is one of the domestic staff of 306 Amala, popularly called Amala Shitta, one of the oldest amala joints in Lagos State but surprisingly she is the Oga At The Top.

Mrs Sherifat Afolabi is the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of Amala Shitta located in the heart of Surulere.

Customers claim the newly renovated joint remains the best place to get amala and abula (ewedu, gbegiri and obe elépo)

The joint has been satisfying the never-ending hunger for delicious amala since 1967.

Even though it is tucked away in Shitta, Surulere, this has not in any way affected patronage as loyal customers troop in every minute to satisfy their amala desire.

When Bounce News visited the Amala joint which operates on Mondays through Saturdays, residents and Lagosians alike were seen struggling to get a plate of their favourite hot amala served with assorted meat.

mama shitta

                                              Mrs Sherifat Afolabi, CEO Amala Shitta (Credit: Bounce)

The Legacy Lives On

Mrs Sherifat took over the management of the amala empire which the founder, her mother passed on.

She said her late mother was a servant-leader as she thought them how to be directly involved in the daily running of the business especially mopping floors, clearing tables and washing dishes.

“Before her death in 2013, she begged that we continue to manage the place to keep her legacy. At first, it was difficult to leave my hairdressing business but I had no choice when she begged that I continue handling the place for her.

“My mother was very hardworking, you will never see her sitting and commanding people up and down. Instead she will be the one to pack the used plates and mop the floor if it is dirty even though she had domestic staff. 

“I learnt that from her”, she said with a grin on her face.

A portion of Amala at the joint costs 50 Naira while beef sells for 100 Naira. Goat meat (Ogunfe) is sold for 400 Naira while ‘panla’ fish sells for 300 Naira and 500 Naira depending on the sizes. 

The spot records more sales during festivities as visitors from far and near troop in to have a taste of the much talked about amala when they visit their relatives who reside in the area. 

Loyalty

A loyal customer, ‘Mama White’ as she is fondly called said she has been coming to the spot for over 20 years and the amala tastes better each day.

mama white

                                              Mama White remains a loyal customer at Amala Shitta (Credit: Bounce)

“I have been living in Surulere since the late 80’s. I used to come here with my friends when we were young. Even after getting married, I still come because the owners are like family to me” she said.

The amala spot was recently renovated by the Majority Leader of the Federal House of Representatives, and the representative of the Surulere Constituency I in the House, Femi Gbajabiamila. 

Mrs, Sherifat said “Hon. Femi grew up in the area and was a regular visitor here. At some point, he travelled abroad but visits us when he is back in the country. 

“Some years back, one of his childhood friends visited us and requested that we make a soup for him. As fate would have it, Hon. Femi ate from the soup and was surprised when his friend informed him he bought the soup from us.”

Mrs Sherifat has an advice for those planning to set up an amala business that will stand the test of time like Amala Shitta.

“My late mother handed over this business to me and I pray I handover this legacy to my children too. 

“My advice to anyone looking at setting up a business like this is that the person must be a servant-leader, hardworking, must be a team player and must exercise a lot of patience so as not to run ahead of time,” she said.