Jambo Africa Online’s Publisher, SAUL MOLOBI, takes a retreat from the hustles and bustles of South Africa’s golden province to recharge his batteries of creativity, sharpen his thinking through medication and rethink the course of events in his business endeavours…

The capital city of South Africa’s Gauteng City Region (GCR), Johannesburg, is Africa’s economic hub. Africa’s major conglomerates are headquartered here; the richest square mile on the continent is in the city’s Sandton precinct; and, as the continent’s most metropolitan city, it isn’t just an economic powerhouse, but also Africa’s cultural melting pot. This city, with two sister metros in the GCR – namely, the City of Tshwane, the administrative capital of the country; and Ekurhuleni, an aerotropolis – largely contributes to the province accounting for over 35% of the country’s GDP. This is 5% more than the combined contribution of the second and third biggest contributors – the Western Cape at 16% and KwaZulu-Natal at 14%. This province’s economic output makes it the eighth biggest economy on the continent – yes, it is bigger than the economies of 47 countries!

This is the city where dreams are made! But as there are inherent risks in every opportunity, one has to be vigilant that they are not drowning as they attempt to swim against the tide in pursuit of their dreams in this complex and high maintenance city. But how does one manage such risks?

“In order to understand the world,” mused Albert Camus in “The Minotaur” – published in the collection, “The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays” – “one has to turn away from it on occasion.”

But in this concrete jungle of Johannesburg, where does one retreat to? Two business partners, Mario Malo Yatumba and Bongani Mamba Thuzini Mathebula, have provided an ideal place of refuge for those needing to boost their mental and physical energies without the inconvenience of driving out of the city. It’s aptly named Kwanza INN. It’s a homily momentous double storey house in the leafy suburb of Houghton Estate. A strategically located place in a radius that include residences and offices of three former presidents of the Republic – the global icon, Nelson Mandela (his house-turned into a boutique hotel, the Nelson Mandela Sanctuary, and the nearby Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory); Thabo Mbeki’s residence and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation’s offices; and Kgalema Motlanthe’s residence and offices. This facility, with easy access to the highway, is 10 minutes to the CBD; five minutes to the Rosebank Mall; and ten minutes to Sandton.

Kwanza INN is a multifunctional space with rotational activities that make the area accessible and easy to interact with, from corporate events (one-on-one, small to medium boardroom meetings), overnight accommodation, gallery, street art gallery room, restaurant,  Saturday afternoon cookouts to romantic dinners. It is managed by the multi-talented Bongani – a street artist, story-teller of note and an incredible vocalist too who gives the most amazing art tours and street art/graffiti tours in the city. The guests will experience an all time all round cultural fulfilment through a vast network of concepts that will overwhelm the space with the most comforting presence one can ever imagine, to be submerged into, a world-class feel in a world-class city. 

“Unlinke in a normal restaurant at a mall or hotel, here we grant our clients a sense of ownership of the space,” says Bongani reassuringly. “Privacy is pivotal. There aren’t eyes and ears like in a normal environment. It’s a discreet venue for discerning clients.”

What’s in a name?

The name kwanza comes from the kiSwahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits”. This celebration of the first fruit is universal across the continent as Batswana, both in Botswana, South Africa and southern parts of Zambia, celebrate it as “moletlo wa molomo” (the “celebration of the first bite”). The amaZulu also celebrate this as “umkhosi wokweshwama” or “umkhosi woselwa” (“calabash festival”).

This celebration gained traction in the mainstream media when it was created as a seven day programme in 1966 by Professor Maulana Karenga, a black nationalist and scholar of Pan-African studies at California State University at Long Beach in the United States. It became popular in the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of the black power movement.

Each day of the programme was dedicated to a theme or principle and “marked by lighting a new candle on the kinara, a seven-branched candelabra.” The seven principles developed were “umoja” (which means unity in kiSwahili); “kujichagulia” (issues of self-determination identiy, naming, creating and speaking for oneself); “ujima” (collectivism or social cohesion); “ujamaa” (economic empowerment which Julius Nyerere described as African socialism); “nia” (purpose. That is, “to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness”); “kuumba” (creativity); and “imani” (faith).

Bongani says these concepts will be brought forth through the art of storytelling in both common dialogue and uncommon dialogue, the space will do so by hosting: artists, Businesses and people from across all walks of life who have raw, real, unique life stories and Talent. “It is significant that we will place a very sharp eye to spot real rare talent whose immense profiles can fill up a stadium, a real life good story is a gem to any soul that comes to Kwanza INN,” he said matter-of-factly.

“We bring talent that is able to draw crowds and exude a different feel in an area that can make guests feel more than welcome to stay a bit longer; what a benefiting factor for everybody; the artist is delighted the clients are optimistic the space is encouraging, nothing beats a cheerful place with happy people.”

The space will also host different kinds of events from decent parties to story telling events – camping sites, picnics and events – across all seasons.

The space will be a meeting point for people from all over Johannesburg, Gauteng, all provinces of South Africa, Africa, including countries across the world it will be a welcoming place for Innovative minds and simple minds alike who want to indulge into the places concepts and ideas, with the pleasure of meeting new people. 

After all in house activities are established different businesses and people are welcome to book the  venue A.K.A the space for any activity that is seen suitable to and for the space; anything that will not harm the space and the respective neighbourhood.


For more information, contact Bongani on 25bluz@gmail.com