Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
The refurbished Hlabangana Lounge at the Highlanders Football Clubhouse was opened to the public on Saturday with hundreds of patrons thronging the joint.
Nearly a year after being awarded the lease by Bosso, the spot was now a pale shadow of its former self.
The spacious seating area was the main attraction with benches under the tents being the most popular places for people to relax.
Since the opening coincided with Africa Day and Culture Week celebrations, people thronged the venue wearing traditional regalia. Staunch Bosso supporters wore their football team’s black and white colours and jerseys.
To welcome guests, a lamb was put on the spit, while a cow was also slaughtered for people to eat.
The patrons who were predominantly in their mid 30s and early forties were in agreement that the touch ups at Hlabangana created an ambience that they longed for. Highlanders FC vice chairman Modern Ngwenya was also in attendance.
They said the venue can easily become a place for the younger Highlanders FC supporters to have after game drinks and braai whether the team wins, loses or draws.
The lounge’s proprietor, Babongile Sikhonjwa, who also runs The Red Café, was happy with the attendance. He said work at the lounge has not finished, with some flat screen televisions yet to be installed.
“Although we haven’t finished the renovations, I’m happy with the progress made so far. Hlabangana Lounge had to be opened because it was now long overdue,” said Sikhonjwa.
He said a play area for children will be set up so that families can come and enjoy themselves.
“Another plan that’s in place is that when Highlanders has a home match, those with VIP tickets can park their cars at Hlabangana Lounge before the match.
“They’ll be shuttled to Barbourfields Stadium with their drinks, be it in cooler boxes or in hand, gain entry, watch the match and shuttled back to the Lounge.”