Grandwest Night Club, arguably the busiest night club in Gaborone, will this Tuesday 18th October celebrate 10 years of operation.
Situated at Gaborone West Mall in Phase 1, Grandwest Night Club first opened its doors to patrons on 18th October, 2001.
In an interview with The Telegraph, the owner of the night club, Steve Rahman, hailed his club’s 10 years of existence as a milestone achievement, looking at the fact that many clubs have come and gone while Grandwest stood the test of time.
Rahman, dubbed ‘the father of Botswana entertainment’, was quick to point out that it has not been a decade of smooth sailing as they encountered setbacks in the business.
Top on the list of setbacks that befell night club businesses is the reduced hours of operation. The new Liquor Act orders night clubs to close at 12 midnight during the week and 2am during weekends.
Surprisingly, the hours get even more reduced during public holidays when night clubs are forced to close as early as 10pm yet it is during this time that people have enough leisure time. Rahman feels these hours of operation are unfair to both night club owners and patrons.
It is common practice in Botswana that people go to bars first and only go to night clubs when bars close at 10pm.
Tactically, what this therefore means is that night clubs have only 2 hours of business because once people start to arrive at clubs from bars at 10pm, the night club has to close in the next 2 hours, at 12 midnight. This means loss of business and compels night club owners to downsize their staff complement.
Rahman is of the view that the demand for places of entertainment like night clubs is high in Botswana, especially in Gaborone which is a cosmopolitan city. He opines that perhaps urban areas should have their own hours of operation from those of rural areas where the demand for night clubs is negligible. He feels that by limiting hours of operation for night clubs the country is moving backwards while other developing countries are moving forward.
Rahman says ever since their hours of operation were reduced, night clubs are no longer commercially viable as they now have to allow patrons free entry. They cannot even afford to host music shows because of the time limit. Rahman has implored government to differentiate night clubs from bars. While bars exist solely to sell liquor, night clubs cater for entertainment. People go to night clubs to interact and socialize while enjoying music or watching live performances. People go to night clubs because they do not want to sleep early.
Asked why Grandwest seemed to be the number one choice for many people in Gaborone, Rahman was reluctant to blow his own trumpet and implored this reporter to ask the patrons. All he could say was his club boasts of tight security for its patrons while they are inside. The club also has good ventilation and clean ablution systems.
Most of the patrons interviewed said they enjoy the peaceful atmosphere at Grandwest and always feel safe because security personnel/bouncers are always visible.
A 27-year-old lady who only identified herself as Lesego had this to say, “At Grandwest I can wear my mini skirt and there’s no guy who can dare harass or touch me without my consent because once you do that, you get kicked out of the club.”
Rahman has been in the entertainment industry in Botswana running night clubs for 26 years now.
He was born 53 years ago in Durban, South Africa, and has lived in Botswana since 1983. In 1985 he opened Theo’s Night-Spot which later became Night Shift.
In 1993 he opened Sinatra’s night club in Maruapula. In the same year Rahman opened Dukes’ Jazz Club in African Mall. He also ran The Shebeen Pub and Restaurant in Maruapula between 1997 and 2001.
Rahman also ran The Ozone club in Tlokweng until it was gutted by mysterious fires some few years ago.
He currently owns and runs Satchmos Jazz Caf├® which operates adjacent to Grandwest night club. He also runs Zoom night club in Maruapula and Ozone in Lobatse.
As a token of appreciation for supporting his club, patrons who come to Grandwest this Tuesday will be given T-Shirts and other freebies.