Gigi Rooftop restaurant and bar: Cape Town’s New Hotspot

Plant chandeliers on Cape Town rooftop restaurant and bar

Winter nights at Gigi Rooftop

Gigi Rooftop is almost a month old and it is on everyone’s to-visit list. I can safely say that this place is indeed worth the hype. This poolside rooftop bar and eatery are situated on the sixth-floor of the Gorgeous George Hotel in Cape Town. And it is indeed gorgeous!

Besides this space being aesthetically pleasing, the kitchen is headed by Chef Bennet who was previously hosted by Cape Town’s favourite fine dining restaurants – the One&Only and Grande Provence Heritage Estate.

From the host Foreman’s friendly smile and greeting downstairs. I knew I should expect nothing but one of the best service in Cape Town. However, the dimly lit and intimate reception area did not prepare me for the vibrant space that I have been seeing on my Instagram feed for the past three weeks since they opened. I’ll be honest, Yoliswa Mqoco and Gina Jeanz sold Gigi to me.

 

I will say the menu gets straight to the point, unlike many places that I have been to. From the small plates to the big plates (this will make sense when you go). But then again I read somewhere that the whole idea of their menu is to keep you there throughout the day. Knowing my friends and me, you will definitely see us lounging at Gigi quite often. I saw the breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. I can safely say this place is indeed well priced.

You are looking to spend around R300 to enjoy a meal and a drink at Gigi Rooftop bar albeit for lunch or dinner. I’m not a morning person, but breakfast will be a lot cheaper depending on your stomach. On that note, breakfast is served from 7am-10am. Lunch is served from 10 until 6pm. Thereafter it is dinner until the kitchen closes.

The staff is well-informed about the menu. So, they will help you out if you’re not sure what to have. And I must add that the staff pride themselves at making this space as inclusionary as possible. I know a lot of people complain that some spaces in CT generally make them uncomfortable, but this is not that type of space.

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Gorgeous George poolside marquee 

The manager Nitha alongside the different waiters that came to our table were warm and approachable. So, I spoke to Nitha and she recommended that people try Gigi on a Sunday because they have DJs on a Sunday and it just makes for a groovy Sunday which is something that I feel has been missing in Cape Town since most places are closed on a Sunday.

I am horrible at making reservations and at my first visit, I found that Gigi was fully booked. This was a Sunday.  So, don’t be like me if you are planning to visit Gigi, call them in advance to make a reservation. Reservations can be made at +27 87 898 6000. You will definitely see me there often and I hope I’ll bump into you too.

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Dating in your late teens and early twenties: An unpaid internship

 

I can safely say that my dating curriculum vitae definitely lists me as undateable. I have been with a lot of people but until this day I have not been in a long term, healthy, and exclusive relationship. And I believe it has everything to do with age.

18-21 is a very delicate time in our lives. It is marked by a lot of decision making and change. This is the stage where you define who you are. These are the trial-and-error years especially if you find yourself in transitioning from high school to university.

Erik Erikson, a development psychology scholar, theorised that there are eight stages of psychosocial development. He posits that as adolescents -(ages 12 -18) – we are essentially defining ourselves as we struggle with questions of “who am I?”. After we have defined our identities, we then move to another stage in our lives (the early 20s) where we are concerned with intimacy. At this point, we want to share our lives with others. This explains why there seems to be a slight obsession with dating amongst people in their twenties and late teens.

Pls note, he also argues that having a strong sense of self is a very important predecessor to successful intimate relationships. How do you then have a strong sense of self if your life is marked by a lot of change and growth?

You are in the beginning phase of your degree, you are trying out adulting, and are trying to find what makes you tick. So where in your early twenties and late teens do you make time for dating? Where there is a will, there is a way.

My mother met my father in her early twenties. So she always advocated that one starts dating and having sex after 18 and then that changed to 21. But I consciously started dating when I started university because I also thought that I would meet the love of my life in my first year of university and live happily ever after. But life had other plans for me.

Someone once tweeted that dating in your twenties is an unpaid internship. Unpaid internships are for learning and growth. They count as work experience especially if you do it for a good company. That has been my dating experience. All my failed attempts at love have allowed me to make mistakes and also be able to articulate exactly what it is I want in my relationships and in a partner. But I wish I had waited a bit longer. Maybe until I turned 22. Here’s why.

I was very idealistic and out of touch with reality. I love romantic movies and they influenced my take on dating a lot. In my first year, I started vibing with this other student. But I just knew he wasn’t for me because a lot of that relationship was spent inside a res room. So, I dumped him. I wanted everything – the spontaneous restaurant dates, long road trips, beach dates, and new experiences with the love of my life. This meant I would need to date older because there aren’t that many students who can do this. So there went the idea of growing with someone that my mother instilled in me.

My conception of what a relationship was distorted by ideas that weren’t realistic. But I won’t lie, I experienced everything that I wanted to experience with my partners. But there was always something missing. My ‘type’ never wanted to commit for different reasons.

The first one was that I am too young to commit. In my first year, I had no idea who I was and I was extremely impressionable and irrational. I still am a bit irrational but not so much impressionable. I felt more than I thought. That’s when my doctor explained to me that I internalised and felt everything to the extremes because the rational part of my brain had not fully developed. According to the University of Rochester medical centre, the rational part of our brains only develops when you turn 25 or so. This explains why each break up devastated me.

Second, they were not ready and had just come out of a relationship. Third, I was too young and needed to explore my options. If only they knew, I would have married all of them if they just asked because I really thought they were the love of my lives and there could never be anyone else. I felt like this for maybe 3 different people. I would take all of them back if I could because I believe they all the ones. See? Very irrational.

I remember last year, my therapist asked me to list the five most important qualities that I wanted in a partner. I could not say ONE. I had no clue. I have always just got into it because it is convenient to be quiet honest and it was always ‘love at first sight’ or by chance. I met most of my partners in a club or restaurant. The intention was never to fall in love. But just to pass time and feelings were prompted by the fact that I am easy to get along with and the spending of a lot of time together. This is why I decided to take a break from the dating scene this year.

I needed to figure out what I wanted and focus on my personal development. Another reason why I chose to stop dating was that dating at this age can distort your self-concept. Dating can trigger insecurities that you didn’t know existed. If your partner cheats, it’s very difficult to remove yourself from that and not make it about you. When you break up, it’s very easy to find yourself thinking it was because of you and maybe if you change certain things about yourself – it will work. Also, I find that a lot of young people just settle because we think that this love even if it is toxic, is the alpha and omega of relationships. I may have been irrational but I know for fact, any situation that is not healthy (abusive: emotionally or physically), isolates me from being an individual, and conditional – is not for me.

In my case, I always felt like I did not have a personality worth dating. I saw myself as a good time and not a long time because no one I was with was willing to commit to me. But after some deep introspection AND therapy, I learnt that this is bullshit. The only reason why no one was committing to me was that I also was not willing to commit. Alongside the fact that they were not for me. I really have a hard time opening up to potential partners and being vulnerable. I project a very nonchalant persona and this leaves my potential partners feeling like I just want a good time. That time on the inside, I wanted a RING!

Mind you, I have met people that proposed long term partnership but I declined because I knew I would not be happy. I don’t believe in settling. If you’re not relatively attractive, smart, openminded, kind and compassionate. I know what I want in a partner and a relationship. I would have not been able to sit here and say this if I did not have the failed attempts with all these different people. Had I settled with the first person who I felt was the love of my life, I would have compromised so much of myself and never been able to grow into the person that I am now.

This is why I am against settling at this time of our lives. If you’re in your early twenties and late teens within an unfulfilling relationship. I advise you to leave because these are really the defining moments of your life. What you accept now sets the bar for future relationships.

I know of people who met the love of their lives in high school and are now getting married. We all have different paths beloveds. What has been your experience dating in your late teens and early twenties? Have you been able to find yourself and still be in a longterm healthy relationship? Let me know in the comment section below.

Cape Town Gay Culture: Fake, Elitist, Pretty Privilege, and Clout

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Privilege is invisible to those who have it |image: Micaela Baatjes

Last year after finishing a podcast with Musa Nkone, we sat down and just reflected on the Cape Town gay scene. In our talk, I felt personally attacked and that Musa was taking a jab at me because our talk began with him calling me a “fake elite gay”. It was at this point where I learnt of the privileges that I have enjoyed in my three years here.  It was at this juncture that I realised that the gay community in Cape Town especially amongst young black men is fake, toxic, elitist, and is run by pretty privilege and clout.

I was under the assumption that I was just a young black gay studying at UCT. But after some introspection that was prompted by this talk and a recent intersectional reflection piece I wrote for my psychology class. I realised that I was indeed enjoying a plethora of privileges and these were privileges specific to a very particular kind of gay in Cape Town. It was indeed the ‘fake elite gays’. Furthermore, I realised how within the social hierarchy, I had indeed been at the top because of my extroversion, looks, and class.

“Fake Elite Gays” in my understanding would the gay, bisexual, or “don’t box me”  queer males that are the top of the social hierarchy. This means they either have all or some of the following: conventionally attractive, slim to gym build, middle class, fairly stylish, and a fairly high social media following and engagement (clout).

Clout is essentially the ability to influence people on social media. So let’s talk about clout as a privilege? Colleen Jones argues that clout allows you to attract the right people and, at the right time, change what they think or do.” It is on this premise that I argue that clout is a form of privilege because it allows for people based on their social media pages coupled with the quality of their content to attract the ‘right people’. In the case of the “fake elite gays” this would be to attract other elite gays. Lol, I don’t have clout. I just happened to like things and know way too many people.

In terms of my own life, seeing that I pass off as ‘straight’, this has made it easier for me to navigate life with ease. Furthermore, being ‘more masculine’ and not a “girlie” gay has allowed for me to be able to also navigate the dating scene with ease as masculinity is a desirable trait amongst the community. I argue that this stems from the gay community’s own internalised homophobia. But it could also be a coping mechanism to deal with the societal homophobia that more feminine, as well as transgender people, experience.

To make the above statements more visible, you find that I prefer to date other men who are more masculine because it is more convenient in terms of how we can sit in a restaurant without people staring (that is if we aren’t engaging any form of PDA). Moreover, I cannot fight to save my life and if I were to be in a compromised situation, I’d need someone else to either fight for me or handle the situation. Also since my mom is not yet fully accepting of my sexuality, it would be easier to say that someone is ‘just a friend’ without her raising her eyebrows. This goes to show how preference is exclusionary because if we are discriminatory of other members of the gay community. How do we then expect society to accept us? Because we don’t just want to be tolerated but the goal is to normalise our queer lived experiences.

Age privilege, able-bodied privilege, Male privilege, middle-upper class privilege, and pretty privilege would be a summary of the privileges that ‘fake elite gays’ including myself enjoy.

For some pretty privilege is a foreign concept but simply put it is the access that your looks can give you which isn’t so easily attainable for others. For the lack of a better analogy, an explicit example would be how ‘pretty’ girls almost always end up in the Cubana lounges without necessarily paying nor booking them out themselves. Or how I can go to a club with a negative balance and make it home with an alarming amount of alcohol in my system.

Pretty privilege in the Cape Town gay scene has separated and divided people according to their looks and what they are perceived to have on social media which is either from family, a rich significant or talent/hard work. I have no issue with cross-class dating because, at the end of the day, people can’t choose where they are from. However, I would like to stress that the pressure to lead and portray a life that is way beyond their means has led to fake elite gays leaning towards “securing the bag” through dating outside of their class. In sum, “securing the bag” means dating, vibing, or being with usually a working man that can offer you a life outside of your own. It is more of a transaction than a relationship. It’s a culture of using someone for what they can offer you while you can and before you’re replaced by another pretty young gay.

Quote me when I say “securing the bag” will be the death of black South African gays. It breeds a culture of ‘each to their own’ and a world where you always feel unsafe if you find yourself dating someone who is well off.  Well off would be idealistically but not limited to someone who can afford that you drink expensive alcohol, fine dining, and maybe buy you luxury goods.

The idea of securing the bag has led to people being fickle and cold. Not only are young gay men pitting themselves against each other but they are allowing men to do the same for their own entertainment. I’ll never forget an acquaintance of mine pre-warning, “don’t catch feelings because we’ll snatch him from you either way”.

Back to the securing of bags which has allowed many to live lives beyond their means. I mean who doesn’t want to be spoilt rotten and live a flashy life? Even I a struggle creative and student would love this. No one likes spending money on a budget. Therefore, it makes sense why people would strive to “secure a bag” to make their lives easier. But does securing the bag really mean that you have to hurt other people in the process?

The ”fake elite gays” as we are called have normalised a culture of toxicity. Placing our worth on material things and neglecting the value of peace. You’ll find the fake elite gays know of each other because they either have dated the same people, occupy the same social spaces, and share mutual friends. But no one likes nor trusts no one. Everyone is looking to show their ‘power’ through snatching someone’s man and being bitchy to one another in public.

I really think all this drama is really unnecessary.  There is really no need. I’d love to find out about your experiences. You can leave your comments below or via my social media platforms.

Love and queer light!

Cape Town Restaurants that I trust with my taste buds

Coming from Port Elizabeth navigating the vast Cape Town food scene came with a lot of trial and error. However, surrounding myself with people who had more knowledge of the best eateries meant that I enjoyed the best that Cape Town has to offer. I will pass on this knowledge and share my favourite restaurants with you!

  1. Kloof Street House

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    Flowery chandeliers light up this fairy themed restaurant on Kloof |image: KSH

    Situated on Kloof just upper Long Street. KSH is my favourite restaurant because it flourishes with amazing service from the attentive staff. My personal favourite starter dishes are the grilled chilli and garlic prawns as well as the calamari dish. They removed my favourite dish from their mains, but to replace that I would suggest the ostrich fillet. To end things off,  I would suggest the Malva pudding that comes with ice cream and a homemade custard (my absolute favourite).

  2. Tasha’s Waterfront or Canal Walk

    Tasha’s has quite an overwhelming menu with them having two different menus. These two being the standard tasha’s menu alongside the location menu. Browsing through these two can take some time. But they are the only restaurant that cooks my favourite Arabiata Penne Pasta (with extra chicken strips) to perfection. Yes, I tried other places and I still prefer Tasha’s. This is a tomato-based pasta with chilli and garlic. Another thing I enjoy about Tashas is the friendly staff that seem to never forget your face and their willingness to help. Side note, their cake selection is to die for!

  3. Asoka

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    Centred around a Tree on Kloof |image: Asoka

    This is KSH’s sister venue and I love it on a Tuesday because it is where the party and vibe are at. I recently went with vegetarian friends and we all left there satisfied. Their concept menu has something for each pallet. You can see the previous review that I wrote on Asoka on how the menu is set out here. I always play around there. So, I suggest you do the same and ask for suggestions as the staff is familiar with the menu. Tapas are essentially finger foods so you’ll need to have at least 2-3 portions to fill up and a dessert depending on your appetite. 

  4. Balducci

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    Balducci is situated at the restaurant section of the V&A on the inside |image: Balducci

    I was trying to think what my favourite dish is at Balducci and I have no idea, but I probably like that it is an affordable place for quality food. I love their ostrich lasagne and their cheesecake served at the right temperature. If I’m going on an impromptu date, this is my go-to spot because it is not an intimidating space as it is inside the V&A Waterfront which is a public space. They have a very intimidating menu that caters for whatever craving albeit meaty, vegetarian or seafood. They have a lunch special that runs throughout the year.

     

  5. Burger & Lobster CT on Bree St.

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    The quintessential B&L lobster curving on the wall |image: The Fashion Factor

    Whenever I’m craving a good burger patty. I travel to B&L because they are the best in the game. With a limited yet delectable menu that is centred around lobster rolls and beef burgers, this place is a personal favourite. They have amazing music selection that transcends from during the day to night. I have the red light at night which sets an intimate yet bar vibe for this space. 

  6. Paranga in Camps Bay

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    The classy and elegant Paranga just beneath Umi|image: Hein van Tonder

    I’m not a cocktail person. BUT The South of France served at Paranga is by far my favourite cocktail in Cape Town. The South of France is offered at some of the Kove Collection restaurants such as the Bungalow in Clifton but they serve it differently. So just go to Paranga. One of my favourites – Tanqueray No.TEN, lemon juice, rose syrup, tonic water & chamomile tea served in a wine glass.  I have never tasted anything that simple yet so good. Side note, for a seafood place, they also make a mean burger. Try anything on their menu and I promise you will not be disappointed. The ambience is beautiful and is also ideal for sunset dinner and drinks at the beachfront.

I’d love to hear what your favourite restaurants are! Let me know in the comments section or via my social media platforms!

Top 5 MCCs that you should try before breaking the budget on Champagne!

With the rise of bubbly influenced by media personality Bonang Matheba, South Africans are becoming more particular about whether they’re drinking Champagne, Sparkling wine or Méthode Cap Classique.

What’s the difference?

Firstly, champagne is made from grapes in France, a region called Champagne. So irrespective of the method used to make the champagne, if it’s not from France it is not Champagne!

MCC or Méthode Cap Classique is the South African version of champagne. Why? It’s simple, it is made using the French’s bottle fermented process. However, the region in which the grapes are from determines whether or not you’re having champagne or MCC.

This then also explains the difference in prices between champagne and MCC. Champagne needs to be imported into the country while MCC is made in the South African wine regions by some of the world’s best winemakers..

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Here’s my Top 5 from the 2019 Top Wine selection:

These wines have been in the Top 20 MCC sparkling wines in South Africa for the past 10 years. So I suggest you give them a try.

  1. Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve 2011
  2. Desiderius Pongrácz
  3. Graham Beck Brut Blanc de Blancs
  4. Laborie Blanc de Blancs
  5. Simonsig Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs

(sourced from Top Cap Classique Sparkling – 2019 Classification)

The beauty about the MCCs mentioned above is that they are hosted at Estates and Farms that you can take a scenic drive to. They also have wine tastings which allows you to try a variety of the winemakers’ wines and get to experience the beauty of vineyards.

In other news…

 

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Bonang’s very own MCC|image: Woolworths

 

Rumour has it, Bonang Matheba is launching her own vintage MCC! This came after she announced that she is launching The House of Bonang which many speculated would be clothing. However, Woolworths added a new MCC on their list called the Bonang MCC Brut. Product available here.

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Clink Clink BForce!

This is the description of the bottle from the Woolies site:

“Being a Queen Bee means having everything a girl needs, including fabulous style and personality to match. Introducing my latest little guilty pleasure – BNG – a true indulgence for yours truly, with an elegant and refreshing taste profile. Be a part of the latest taste trend and enjoy this traditional Méthode Cap Classique – perfect on its own or with any celebration.” -Bonang

The launch of the #HouseofBoNanG is on the 18th of March. Whilst Woolies has launched the product, we’ll wait to see if there’s more to The House of Bonang on the 18th.

 

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The official image from Bonang | source: @Bonang_m

 

A Day With Top Chef SA’s Chef Aya

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Meet Chef Aya |image: @andidiary on IG

“Best Seafood in Cape Town” chef according to Eat Out in 2016, Top Chef SA runner-up, Pop Up Chef, SABC 3’s Afternoon Express regular guest chef and Private Chef who worked his way from having “no plan” and just “passing time” by studying Hotel Management. Ayabonga Gope has undoubtedly worked his way up to be one of South Africa’s most recognized young black chefs.

It is a sunny Saturday afternoon in Khayelitsha and I’m meeting Chef Aya at the charming and intimate 4Roomed Foods Restaurant in Khayelitsha as his manager requested. A glossy black painted four-roomed house with a garage as the kitchen and the lounge is a gallery for local art. It is a small and intimate space with the seating situated at the backyard of the house and brings bespoke culinary experiences to locals and tourists alike. This is a fitting space for Aya who modestly describes himself as just a guy from ekasi.  As I arrive, Aya impromptu invites me to spend the rest of the day with him as he prepares a dining experience for a surprise baby shower at 4Roomed.

We start the interview by talking about his collaboration with Nestle for the Multichoice Delicious Festival which he will be leaving for Johannesburg the following Monday and his manager strategically placed the interview before his First Sunday with Chef Aya dining experience which would be hosted at 4roomed the following day.  “I kind of mix whatever works,” he describes how he goes about preparing meals. However, his recent projects that have taken an unfamiliar shift towards being in front of the television screen as well as having to explain and prepare menus to clients.

After recently discovering that he inherited his cooking from his late grandmother. Aya started cooking at the young age of five outside of his aunt’s home in the small town of Mnqesha which is situated just outside of King Williams Town. “I remember building a fire outside my house gathering empty coffee cans and just trying to cook because I didn’t want to go out and be with people. I just wanted to focus on what made me happy at that moment,” he recalls a delightful childhood reminiscence.

After much convincing from his supportive mother to consider being a chef as a career. “I saw chefs as people selling [food] across the street,” he initially thought because of the lack of presence of black chefs in the industry and community. At this point, he leaves to fetch our starter which was chicken liver and toasted vetkoek. He tells me that this dish is inspired by a meal that he used to buy with friends after school at a local food vendor. However, his twist is the toasting of the vetkoek.

Since his family could not afford expensive and exclusive culinary schools. He found a cooking school where he studied without payment on the condition that he helped the owner. “I had to promote the school, helped her out [at events], and had to also come back to do my diploma,” he recalls. From this, he made use of his closeness with the principal as an opportunity to network with prominent chefs in the industry.

To start his career, he says he was promoted prematurely in his journey at Manna Epicure, on Kloof from commis chef to sous chef. “It was too early for me,” he emphasized.  This is when he also met his mentor and “white father” the late Chef Johannes van der Westhuizen.  According to Aya, Chef Johannes made him believe that “a white person can treat you the same as them when you [are black]” an idea foreign to him because he grew up in a predominately black area and was spatially and socially segregated from white people. Aya spoke so fondly of the kindness and humility of Johannes and his family leaving the both of us very teary. Johannes played a vital role in his life and career encouraging Aya to live and be confident.  “He always encouraged me to live my best life and to always believe in myself,” he remembers. This is something that he still struggles with.

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image: @andidiary on IG

After serving his 12-month resignation notice to Manna, Johannes offered Aya his first official head chef position at his new seafood restaurant, Deckhouse. Aya accepted the offer as he was now excited to finally work with seafood. During his time here, he was reviewed best seafood in Cape Town by Eat Out which is one of his career highlights.

As a result of the demanding professional standards leading a whole kitchen and being a young and new chef. Aya, unfortunately, fell into a “depression” and was “found by a customer on the floor,” he recalls.  Soon after as he was about to leave this job, he got the call to join Top Chef SA which he was initially reluctant to accept. “Till this day I don’t think I am good enough for anything, but I’ll never stop trying,” he reasoned.

Being a self-proclaimed perfectionist, the idea of messing up in front of the camera freaked him out. Furthermore, he felt like he didn’t have “nice English” for live television. Having been aware and preparing for the pressure that came with being on the show, he eventually accepted the offer and flew with his fellow contestants to Johannesburg.

In Johannesburg, he felt like “he had no story to tell” in comparison to the other contestants who he says had achieved a lot more in comparison to him. However, because he lives by the mantra that hard work beats talent he made it to the Top 2 of the competition something that neither he nor his peers anticipated as he was one of the “jokers” backstages. To close our conversation, Chef Aya explains that he recently got a manager because he is a visionary but struggles with executing ideas. “This guy pushes me,” pointing out that his manager Zimasile Mjokozeli has been the executor.

Aya loves where he is from and always aims to combine the opulence of his career and the “strong flavors” from his background into his cooking and work. This has pushed him to have regular pop-ups in Khayelitsha where he grew up. The whole point of this is to bring people from outside to see Khayelitsha.  In the future, he has plans to create “Granma’s Heart” something that incorporates his rural roots into his work. He emphasizes that he wanted people to know that they can get good food that he serves in urban spaces in the township. We scheduled an hour, however, it turned into a full day that ended with Aya taking me around where the township of Khayelitsha and ending with a sunset drive to Monwabisi beach of Khayelitsha beach where he reflected about his childhood memories.

Jazz on a Tuesday: Cape Town Nights

 

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Asoka’s entrance animated|image: Asoka.co.za

 

Do you sometimes just crave a night out after a long Monday and an equally daunting Tuesday? Asoka on Kloof Street, has got you covered. This venue promises you an excellent menu, live jazz, and a variety of cocktails.

Asoka is a bar and restaurant situated on the corner of Kloof and Nichol street, Gardens. This venue offers customers an internationally inspired culinary experience that is hosted under their five element concept: fire (meat), wind (chicken and duck), water (seafood), earth (vegetarian), and nirvana (dessert). Their menu offers dishes for all types of palates. See menu here.

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Asoka by day|image: Cape Town Magazine

The venue has an intimate and sensual vibe as it accepts minimal light from its Asian inspired style lamps as well as candles on each table. The candlelight oak tree is the venue’s showstopper as tables are placed around it and is also a source of lighting.

Yesterday, I decided to try the Jazz Tuesdays. I was advised to come early as it tended to be packed. I arrived at 8pm and the venue had some guests standing and all tables fully booked. Luckily, a couple was leaving and I secured a seat.

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Live Jazz Band at Asoka | image: Cape Town Magazine

I had a sweet craving so I decided to take a look at their small but tasty dessert menu.  I had already tried the malva pudding that has the homemade custard (which I love) and ice cream. So this time around, I tried the caramel cheesecake with the vanilla which was incredibly sweet BUT tasted good.

The evening started off with a live jazz performance.  Then, the DJ arrived to soothe the place with old school Rhythm and Blues and later some House tunes. With the Cape Town pop and electro market, I was surprised by the great Deep House selection that brought in different crowds that I haven’t spotted at my usual hangout spots.

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The lamps at the Victorian old house Asoka | image: klaas in session

During my visit, I spotted two national television personalities such as Man Cave’s Siv Ngesi and Expresso’s Zoe Brown with their friends. Looking for a venue for a date or get together with friends? Asoka would be ideal for a casual and social rendezvous. The music can get a tad loud and crowded especially on a Tuesday, so if you’re looking for a more quiet restaurant vibe, you can try the sister venue: Kloof Street House.

I didn’t expect a full house with good food and music on the second day of the week. So, looking for a club that’s popping on a Tuesday? Asoka on Kloof is the place to go.

 

 

The Rands Lifestyle Space Experience

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Guests enjoying themselves on the dance floor

It’s a cloudy and sunny Cape Town on a Sunday afternoon at the Claremont taxi rank and we are looking for a taxi to Khayelitsha. I am with Chiyedza and Ryan who are two University of Cape Town international students from Zimbabwe and America, respectively. It is our first time commuting to Khayelitsha via taxi, but we asked the locals in the Khayelitsha taxi to alert us as to where to get off.

Situated at the centre of Khayelitsha, many see this as a township shisa-nyama. However, Rands Lifestyle Space is an open-air lounge founded by brothers Mfundo and Mshayi Mbeki. It serves braai meat, traditional side dishes, and good music to its guests.

This eatery-and-pub is becoming a weekend alternative to the popular Long Street as it offers a premium township experience to local and international guests.

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Dj Mshayi on the decks setting the mood for #RandsSundae|image: Rands Cape Town

After a forty-five minute-long taxi ride to Khayelitsha, we finally arrive at Rands to DJ Mshayi, the co-founder’s deep house tunes that set a relaxed tone for the festivities ahead.

The set up at Rands is that of a modern and contemporary outdoor spot. On your right, 4-seater oakwood bunk stools are placed casually on the around the 1500 capacity venue. On the left, you have red painted metal bar chairs on long wooden tables. Further on your right, you have the VIP marquee guarded by a white picket fence and within this section, you have red-and-white ultra modern style sofas which have hosted South Africa’s A-List celebrities such as DreamTeam and DJs Sphectacula and Dj Naves.

The quality music and contemporary decor at Rands offer visitors a premium night and daytime experience.

Whilst preparing to go to Rands for the first time, Ryan pointed out to both Chiyedza and I that we ought to put some effort into what we will be wearing.

The clientele that Rands attracts ranges from Khayelitsha and surrounding township’s locals to tourists from all over the world. With this in mind, it is understandable that the people at this space take their outfits seriously as they dress to stand out from the crowd be it to meet new people or be spotted by the Rands photographers and be featured on the Rands Cape Town social media platforms that boast a following of over fifty thousand and almost eight thousand people on Facebook and Instagram, sequentially.

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The open-air lounge during the day|image: Rands Cape Town

The drinks at such a premium establishment are affordable for both local and tourist alike. If you’re looking for alcohol at bottle store prices this is the place to go. Please note that Rands is a 21-and-over establishment and thus alcohol is sold accordingly.

Rands is the perfect spot for Friday after work drinks with colleagues or a Sunday chill session. These are the days that Sinothando Jaxa, a Rands employee also suggests as the best and busiest days of their week. Judging from our difficulty finding a spot to sit, it is also that you come here earlier around one o’clock daytime.

He also recommended that people come enjoy their African Delight menu that is only served on Thursdays. This menu offers guests a variety of traditional African meals such as ulusu (tripe), umleqwa (hand raised chicken), and dumplings to name a few. It is important to note that you need a mere R40 to enjoy a meal on #AfricanDelight Thursdays.

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Our Rands Basket

The food is served in a stylish wooden basket that can accommodate meat and side dishes for at least 6 people. Since this is still a shisa-nyama at its core, there are no eating utensils and one uses their hands to enjoy the fresh braai meat and pap. The breaking of bread style of eating which brings people together and strengthens the spirit of ubuntu and humility that is unique to the township. However, for those unfamiliar with this eating style plastic utensils are available.

We went for a Sunday sundowner and treated ourselves to the braai meat, their (unique) yellow pap, and chakalaka. Rands meat is marinated in a special secret sauce that could give big fast food franchises a run for their money. Meat to expect at Rands is beef, lamb chops, sausage, chicken wings, and pork.

What stood out for us was the pap’s colour which is the result of the additional curry powder. The chakalaka was a bit disappointing and taste could be improved by being careful of overcooking the carrot and making it a bit spicier and tastier. However paired with the curry pap, the two made a decent side to the meat.

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Chiyedza smiling wholeheartedly after our meal

The thing that brings people back to Rands is the sense of community that you get as you walk through the gates. From the moment that you walk into the establishment, the friendly staff that is always willing to assist like Sinothando and his colleagues work together to provide fast and efficient service even at the most demanding times. Notably, there is room for improvement in terms of hygiene with regards to the handling of the meat by the staff.

We enjoyed the music selection thoroughly as it ranged from Deep house in the afternoon, Hip-hop and R’n’B towards sunset, and Qgomu or commercial house which caused an uproar in the crowds and we were treated to some dancing before our departure.

Overall, Rands is a great gathering space for people from all walks of life. The environment is LGBTQI+ friendly with Health4men condom boxes provided at the toilets.

This is further manifested by the fact that the people showed no bigotry against white, coloured, black, gay, lesbian, or trans people who were at the venue this Sunday. We found that warm, and open-minded people dominated this space.

If you’re looking for good music, people and food – Rands Lifestyle Space in Khayelitsha is the place to go.

Royal Wedding Weekend Fever

 

 

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Wedding venue for Ms. Meghan Markle and Prince| image: Kensington Place

 

19 May 2018, is the day that the whole of the town of Windsor, England will be on halt celebrating the union of US actor Meghan Markle and Britain’s Prince Harry.

The couple was spotted Thursday afternoon for the pre-wedding welcome tea with Queen Elizabeth II. The bride’s mom and friends were also expected to attend this tea with the Queen.

 

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British Armed forces rehearsing for the big day

 

Preparations for the wedding started this week in the small town and loyal royal fans have begun camping along the procession route that the bride and groom will be taking. Furthermore, Thursday saw the rehearsal of the British royal wedding carriages.

The people of Windsor have decorated the streets with flags of both the United States of America and Britain. This warm embrace shows the town’s approval of the couple’s matrimony.

 

Congratulatory signs, life-size photographs of the couple on windows, and people dressed as the queen’s guards can be spotted throughout the town.

 

Meghan Markle is the first biracial woman to marry into the royal family.  She has spoken proudly and openly about this and this union is one that people of colour all over the world are looking forward to watching.

 

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An image from the couple’s engagement shoot|image: Kenginston Palace

 

 

Markle sadly announced that her father would not be attending the wedding. Leaving people questioning who will be walking her down the aisle.

Prince Harry asked his brother Prince William to be his best man for the wedding. This is not unusual as Harry was William’s best man at his wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.

Thousands of people from all over England are expected to descend to Windsor this weekend. The wedding will take place at St George’s Chapel. The service will begin at St George’s Chapel at midday. At 1pm, following the service, the couple will travel around Windsor in a horse-drawn carriage, providing an opportunity for members of the public to see them and join in with the celebrations.

 

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A candid shot from the couple’s engagement shoot|Image: Kensington Palace

 

It seems that the Royal fever also hit Cape Town as there will be a high tea hosted at Cellars-Hohenort in Constantia on Saturday where royal family fans will be sipping on tea, gin & tonic, and champagne while watching the wedding.

The rest of South Africa can catch the Royal Wedding live on DStv channels: ITV Choice, DStv channel 123, E! Entertainment, DStv channel 124, BBC Lifestyle, DStv channel 174, Sky News, DStv channel 402 and BBC World News, DStv channel 400.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Evolution of Maxhosa Experience

 

On the 22nd of March 2018, Maxhosa by Laduma showcased their autumn/ winter range for 2018 at the Africa Fashion International Cape Town Fashion Week. In this exhibition, Laduma collaborates with his sister Tina Ngxokolo to create the Atelier collection.

I attended the pre-drinks hosted at Merchants on Long before the showcase. At this event, guests such as fashion entrepreneur Siya Beyile and some of Laduma’s clients were treated to the new chocolate collaboration between Maxhosa and ice cream brand Magnum South Africa.

 

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Enjoying the Magnum x Maxhosa chocolate | image: Magnum South Africa

Chivas Regal also offered guests their premium whiskey throughout the whole afternoon.

After a few hours of mingling, indulging, and drinking – the guests jetted individually to the AFI in Salt River studios to the show. Most of the guests invited to the predrinks were seated in the front row for the show.

 

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My favourite sweater from the collection| image: AFI

 

In this collection, Laduma uses inspiration from Op-Art to show off his craftsmanship by challenging himself to create garments that capture the movement of patterns. To do this the pattern movement is clearly illustrated and sees signature motifs being modified to 3D.

The models in this collection wore 3D glasses that have red and cyan lenses and this emphasised the designer’s theme which sets Maxhosa in the future of African fashion. The choreography was simple and straightforward which I found a bit odd for a show that demonstrated such a artistic shift from the brand.

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In one of the looks that stood out for me in the Atelier collection is this traditional Xhosa dress. Tina showed off her craftsmanship by giving this traditional look a modern twist as she plays around with traditional colours, lines, and styles to give it a functional and international appeal.

 

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My favourite bomber jacket | image: AFI

 

Notably, this show was short in duration. However, it showed the brand’s shift in the years meticulously.  The change in the choice of fabric also gives the brand a more luxurious and opulent appeal. This new fabric indeed stunned the crowds. The distinct Xhosa beadwork patterns on luxury mohair make Maxhosa the epitome of African fashion’s future.

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Maxhosa by Laduma has found prestige in the closets of a host of people around the world. Most recently, Black Panther stars Atandwa Kani and father John Kani wore Maxhosa pieces to the premiere of this Hollywood blockbuster. Prior to this, Brazilian pop group Dream Team do Passinho’s music video went viral as they wore items from the 2016 and 2017 spring/summer collection. Locally, Maxhosa items have won a plethora of awards including his Shaul that won the 2016 Design Indaba “Most Beautiful Object” in Africa.

See the #MagnumxMaxhosa promo video here: