Nando’s African Mall celebrated its new look restaurant in a different location next to Timba Trading last night (Tuesday). The event, themed #Followtheflame hosted the restaurant’s stakeholders including suppliers, customers, the media, local artists and Nando’s employees, affectionately called #Nandocas.
African Mall became the home of the first Nando’s restaurant in Botswana which opened its doors to customers in September 1993. “This restaurant, commonly referred to as the ‘mother store’ by sundry Nando’s employees paved the way for 13 more restaurants in the group; making a total of nine in Gaborone, two in Francistown and one each in Jwaneng, Maun and Mahalapye.”
Nando’s Botswana Chairman, Abdulla Khan was thrilled at the reopening of the restaurant chain’s first restaurant in Botswana in the same year that the country is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“Nando’s is one of the many businesses that truly represent business and economic success that can only be achieved in a stable democracy like Botswana. We believe in a ‘United and Proud Nation’ and we have over the years contributed immensely to the development of Batswana. Out of the 82 restaurant management positions in Nando’s Botswana, 80 are filled by Batswana.”
Nando’s Botswana continues to show commitment to the Art Initiative, a global project launched in 2001. “The Nando’s Art Initiative boasts a collection of 11 000 pieces, some of which are showcased in over 1000 restaurants in over 24 countries. An opportunity arose when the original home of PERI-PERI in Botswana, African Mall, was due for a facelift. As a way to celebrate Botswana’s 50th Independence Anniversary, Nando’s Botswana saw it fit that this restaurant be the one that engages a young Motswana artist to bring the interior design to life.
This is Kenny Ketshotseng, a young painter from Molepolole, demonstrated his brush skills in upcycling previously used chairs, with vivid colours as envisioned by Egg Design. The chair installation is now sitting pretty at the all-new African Mall restaurant.” A nostalgic Khan stated, “We have more than enough reason to celebrate the spark that ignited the flame, our first restaurant, African Mall.
In this year, where there is much to celebrate for Nando’s as well as the nation, the old adage of ‘You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been’ rings true now more than ever. #Followtheflamehome back to African Mall bagaetsho. This is where it all began.”
For her part, Nando’s Botswana Brand Manager, Simiso Ncube was also thrilled that after 23 years of doing business in Botswana, the restaurant chain was relaunching its all-new African Mall store in a new and spacious location.
“It all began here in 1993 as only a 12 seater then and today the brand boasts 14 restaurants across the country. We remain indebted to our loyal customers and I can sincerely tell you here today that the secret is in the addition of the PERI-PERI. With a total nine restaurants in Gaborone alone, we are happy that the Gaborone City Council found it fit to open their doors to us to open these stores. Thank you.”
A representative from the city council, Kegaisamang Mokgolele enthralled patrons with a profound history of the African Mall; where Nando’s first opened its doors. “The African Mall, which was named by the people, was started in the 60s to encourage low and middle income entrepreneurs. There were key players such as Uncle Boys, The Makhuras, Kgorobas and Marupings to name but a few. The locality was molded akin to SOWETO in South Africa.
As the neighborhood flourished and continued to grow thanks to the inventiveness of the former Gaborone Mayor, Matheadira Willie Seboni, a phenomenal brand was born in African Mall, and that brand is Nando’s.”
Nando’s Botswana Human Resources Manager, Lebogang Masole reaffirmed Nando’s commitment towards women and citizen economic empowerment. “It’s also notable to mention that Nando’s is close at striking 50/50 for any position on gender equality.” Also at the same grand evening, a male quartet band dubbed the Bow Ties serenaded and regaled patrons with their soothing voices analogous to The Soil of RSA.