Delegate delight

2017-12-10 09:34

Johannesburg - In six days, the ANC’s 54th national conference will start at the Nasrec Expo Centre. Ntombizodwa Makhoba and Vukile Dlwati  visit a few entertainment hot spots likely to attract the party’s delegates during the five-day event.

Music icon and producer Sello “Chicco” Twala rubs his hands in glee as he prepares his Lapeng restaurant to host delegates to the ANC’s elective conference in style.

“The last time, they came in and out for lunch during the day and there was no excessive consumption of alcohol,” Twala says. He is referring to the ANC’s national policy conference held at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg in June, during which Lapeng hosted ministers and senior ANC members.

Lapeng is the chic, sophisticated venue in the heart of Diepkloof, Soweto. It is famous for hosting provincial members of executive councils and heads of national and provincial government departments.

Lapeng has previously hosted Hennessy cognac chief executive officer Bernard Peillon, who sat down to a South African braai and spoke about the cognac’s 250-year history.

A manager at the restaurant, Mbali Twala, says several ANC representatives have already asked about securing bookings. The event takes place from Saturday, December 16 to Wednesday, December 20.

“We are ready for the conference and we’re crossing fingers because it’s going to be big. ANC members are excited about our traditional food,” she quips.

Lapeng offers weekly and weekend buffets prepared by its chef. It offers samp, mogodu [tripe], dumpling, organic chicken, salads and desserts.

Businessman Kenny Kunene, who co-owns Rivonia On Deck restaurant with his long-time friend Gayton McKenzie, told City Press that his restaurant has been spruced up to accommodate ANC delegates who want to “destress and wipe their tears” after the conference.

The recently revamped, triple-storey restaurant can host up to 2 000 revellers. The menu has a diverse range of food, including west African cuisine. He has doubled the stock of alcohol to include French Champagnes such as Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot and a wide range of expensive whiskeys.

Kunene, who is connected with ANC heavyweights, declined to disclose the big names he is expecting to host next week, citing security reasons.

“But those who want VIP treatment and to be isolated from the rest will have their own VIP section,” he said.

Xolisile Guqaza, marketing manager of the Meat Lounge in Sunninghill, says they have organised a special welcoming of guests on Friday, followed by a luncheon on Saturday.

“On Sunday, patrons can expect a performance from hip-hop star Anatii,” Guqaza boasts, adding that the celebration will continue after the ANC’s new president is announced.

He says Meat Lounge is fully stocked and they have liquor stores on standby should they run out of alcoholic drinks.

“Prices will remain the same because we just want everybody to have the Meat Lounge experience,” says Guqaza. On December 20 they will host a send-off party to conclude the festivities.

City Press visited several outlets in Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, Soweto, which is popular with local and international tourists. The famous Sakhumzi restaurant already has a Marimba band playing in the background as part of the festive season offering.

The menu is a buffet which offers a variety of indigenous food including mogodu, knuckles, giblets, samp and dumpling. However, people are not just there to dine, Sakhumzi is known as a place where entrepreneurs seal business deals.

Other famous eateries in the neighbourhood, such as Nexdor, Kwa Lichaba and Vuyos seemed busy. Each restaurant has its unique food signature.

Surprisingly, Sakhumzi manager Joshua Jumo says they have not received bookings from ANC members. However, they are ready for the big event.

He says they haven’t doubled or tripled their alcohol stock for the conference because they don’t want to overstock and then “comrades don’t show up”.

Arthur Ngobe, the owner of McCoy’s Lifestyle restaurant in Senaoane, Soweto, says bookings shot up during the policy conference. As a result, they have hired more staff to ease the pressure for this conference.

Although they’ve doubled their stock in preparation for the ANC conference, there is no guarantee that they’ll host large numbers of delegates.

“I am confident that Senaoane and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma ANC delegates will come to support my business.”

Some of the high-profile ANC leaders are expected to unwind in lavish private venues.

Other venues for ANC-spotting

  • Meat Lounge
  • Mash Braai House
  • Taboo Night Club
  • Cubana Night Club
  • Rivonia On Deck


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