Sunset cocktails, good company, an ambiance to murder for and a memory to last a couple of lifetimes.
How does one get so lucky to get such a HAMBA JUBA moment koBulawayo ? And grend shap, is that not what the fat cats sell their arms and legs to afford?
Ever dreamt of being in one of those Hollywood scenes where everything just seems to fall into place like God and the ancestors are in agreement to grant your deepest prayers. Well this is not a dream but a memory created deep in the wild, ekasi si lamajita. Kanti vele who said you gotta be in a five-star hotel to enjoy a five-star experience.?
Just a back story. A friend of ours had just came from SA & had bathed us with his bartending adventures across the African continent. We had last seen each other in 2015 & since then he’d left us with good memories that we passed on as tales to our other friends.
A young bio of the homie, he goes by Craig Mdu, angsoke ngitsho isbongo cos ama bizo aya biza. I met umzala in my early music days & we shared a similar passion for African music though he went the extra mile of collecting it. Fast forward, he left to the mighty Joburg were he morphed into this fine bartender (well he says he’s a mixologist but vele 6 lo 9 kithi kuyafana).
One boring festive umzala rings us lo Vic & invites us to his house. It was my first time ukubon’ umtshifan’ othwala utshwala bakhe and I was hella impressed. So, we catch up on our early lives & later he gets into his mixology magic. First, he made us a “mojito”, pronounced as “mohito”, I first heard that word from our muso KARMAH cousins. Grend shap yi hottie garnished nge mint, slice se lemon le ice-nyana.
Daideng blew my lungs open & tasted far less than anything alcoholic, basically umzala can dash you the cheapest of spirits. A simple Mbarure can taste like a cocktail you see on TV.
Fast forward to this year. Umjita pulls up and he is talking this crazy talk like how he has been travelling the continent and feels like everything is just too generic or establishments just don’t tailor make experiences to suit individual palates. He goes on and on about how he would like to create experiences with cocktails that suit people on an individual basis. He starts talking about how people don’t always like the same thing and how as individuals we are always looking for something alternative. He goes on some Aristotle mode and after a while I grasped ukuthi he calls this philosophy of his HAMBA JUBA. (FLY AWAY LITTLE DOVE for Victoria’s children who don’t cav isintu). This wierdo goes on to say that we should have some sundowners on a Sunday by that Bhundu behind Pumula North. Ndoda, cocktails lebhundu kuhlangana njani? Do you think this is a Hollywood movie?
Anyway, back to our venture on that day. The boys tore into the bhundu looking for the right location to film the experience. Marcus was on the camera chances he mightn’t appear much on the final, bless the young lad though. Took us about an hour touring the bush until we rested on one rocky spot, I took a nap while everyone did the set up.
We waited for the sunset to capture the golden hour, Mdu got into his zone & like a professional tradesman he set up his equipment, the resources were as simple as umgqala of rum, a couple of lemons, a bunch of mint leaves grown from Craig’s backyard & crushed ice.
Sometime later umzala had slung ama cocktail which we shared with the whole squad. My best moment was when I stared into the horizon with the fancy beverage on my hand absorbing the feeling.
Like I highlighted before, umemba can turn any sort of spirit into a fancy beverage, noma bethi awunathi bazokthola ususi minya kuphela. Grend shap umzala had his reasons for taking us ebhundu cos uthi there’s more to Bulawayo than boujee venues. His philosophy is to explore alternative scenery & creating memories which are far better than sticking to tried & tested formulas. He calls this philosophy “Hamba Juba” & he is keen to introduce Bulawayo to it.
Ladies & gentlemen I’d like to introduce to you Craig Mdu, a professional bartender & mixologist ready to breathe life to any of your bar experiences. I’m proud to say that my friends are a talented bunch of weirdos that take pleasure in abstract experiences, our peers are probably in their suit & ties with a stable 9-5 job. Us? We live care free, exploring the world with our talents.
I am Dumisani Dube, an African child that hangs in the bhundu most of his time, one of my fantasies is a month-long camping & hiking trip with my friends. I believe what travelers seek to find all over the world is right in our backyard waiting to be explored. We just have to find it… Hamba Juba
Watch the short video of what took place here
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