Raymond Jaravaza, Showbiz Correspondent
NOTHING stands out nor make a first timer glance over their shoulder in awe when they drive past or into the parking area of Chigumira Shopping Centre in Luveve suburb in Bulawayo.
For a first timer, it’s easier to dismiss the braai and outdoor establishment near a typical building one would expect at a shopping centre in a high-density suburb.
It’s a Saturday late afternoon and Bulawayo football giants Highlanders have just played a Challenge Cup match against rivals FC Platinum at Barbourfields.
The unfavourable result for the Bosso fans who have just watched their team hammered two nil by their opponents does not seem to have dampened the spirits of the patrons that call Matsika Shisa Nyama (koChigumira) the braai joint of choice.
As they drive into the parking lot, literally squeezing their vehicles in the limited space available, the first timer could as well be forced to view Matsika Shisa Nyama from a different perspective.
“People come here for the ultimate braai experience right in the middle of a township and get to experience the vibe of our establishment. We strive to supply good meat, from beef, chicken, pork and offal, which our customers can enjoy any day of the week, all year round. Our regulars will tell you that the quality of our meat is always the same and that’s what keeps them coming back,” said the man behind Matsika Shisa Nyama Joseph Dzova who took over the establishment in September 2017.
But what separates Matsika Shisa Nyama from other braai joints in the City of Kings and its surrounding environs?
“Many of our customers are telling us that they enjoy our salads hence have been coming back.”
It is often said that preparing food is an art and the salads at Matsika Shisa Nyama attest to that. With a variety of vegetables like lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes coupled with onions, it is the bananas and even apples and avocado, depending on the customer’s taste that change the game and make the salad stand out.
Also, the personalised touch given to the salads by the employees who are always friendly and helpful to every customer, make it more attractive.
Inside the Shisa Nyama, three of Dzova’s employees are almost invisible from a cloud of smoke bellowing from two braai stands full of meat. The employees said despite the pressure of orders, they always ensure that there is no mix up of customers’ meat.
“Right now, I’m braaing meat for eight customers and I know what belongs to who and after how long each customer must come and collect his order,” said one of the employees.
Matsika Shisa Nyama attracts large crowds especially during weekends but surprisingly the joint does play music as is the norm with a number of entertainment spots in Bulawayo. Revellers simply play music of their choice in their vehicles.
Dzova understands that importance of a good relationship with the community where he operates from hence his decision not to play loud music.
Many entertainment joints have collapsed after facing resistance from the community as a result of loud music.
Dzova says he implores his patrons not to play loud music especially at night when residents want to sleep.
On a typical weekend, the parking area at Matsika Shisa Nyama resembles a playground for all types of cars from all-terrain vehicles to the poshy sets of wheels that are sure to turn heads in the high-density suburb.
“People say that Zimbabwe is facing economic challenges but just take a look at what those guys are drinking,” says a man standing next to a Toyota 4×4 vehicle, pointing in the direction of an impressive set of wheels with local number plates.
The guy driving the Toyota is based in South Africa and it’s easier to separate his vehicle from the rest because of its Gauteng Province (South Africa) number plates.
There appears to be an unwritten rivalry between injiva and local high rollers as to who drinks the most expensive whiskeys and beers.
“I bring my alcohol from South Africa because my brand of whiskey is very expensive here but just take a look at how many bottles those guys have on their bonnet,” continues the man.