Tafadzwa Zimoyo : Arts Reporter
One of Harare’s popular night spots Chez Ntemba International has shut its doors due to low patronage and increasing rentals. The once popular Rhumba Club will open after six months at a different venue. Management at the club recently said that they were on the hunt for a more spacious venue that matches its international standards.The club closed shop early this month as its venue, Kopje Plaza is reportedly under-going a major facelift.
Phillip Chinamano, a manager at Chez Ntemba, confirmed the club’s closure pending the relocation.
“Of course, business was now low and since we opened only for two days a week that is Friday and Saturday it was difficult for us to continue when there were no crowds coming to the club,” he said.
Chinamano added: “We had to pay salaries while the rentals were ranging between US$4000 to US$5000 and we felt it was not sustainable.”
He, however, promised that Chez Ntemba would open after six months.
“So we have closed for six months after which we will reopen with a bang. There will be lots of exciting concepts as what happens in other countries.
“One of the changes include live performances as well as celebrity guests from around the world who will come to meet their fans,” Chinamano said.
He said management was engaging prospective hosts for the Rhumba Club.
“We are moving to a new spacious venue in the up market Harare where we will put up a structure matching regional and international standards.
“So far we have identified at least three places where we think will suit the new structure and the standards that we want to achieve.
“Since 2000 we have been stuck at the same venue and we never had any major renovations so that is the reason we are moving to a new place.”
Chinamano acknowledged that the decision was also influenced by the dwindling patronage.
“Chez Ntemba is one of the biggest brands internationally, so we saw it fit to set our standards in line with other nightclubs in the region.
“We didn’t want a situation where if one goes to Chez Ntemba in South Africa or Zambia they will see a difference with what we do in Harare.
“So the best way is now for us to look for a place that would allow us to put up one of the best nightclubs in Harare matching international standards.
Previously, Chez Ntemba International was an exclusive nightclub famous for rhumba and kizomba music.Some of the DJs who rocked Chez Ntemba include Dollarbill, Ben the Rhumba Network, Luckers and the rhumba maestro himself – Buzie.
However, due to a demand to diversify, the club then opened another dance floor where R’n’B, Hip-hop and dancehall found a place.
So popular was Chez Ntemba that after all was said and done all roads led to the nightclubs where party people danced the night away until early hours of the morning.