Travel

City Guide: DJ Tizalami’s Guide to Mbabane, Swaziland

DJ TIza shows us some of the most happening places in Swaziland's capital city.

In our series City Guide, we ask our favorite musicians, actors, artists and known personalities from all over Africa what their go-to spots are in their hometown or permanent city of residence.


In this installment, renowned Swazi-based media consultant, travel and entertainment blogger, guest broadcaster, social media marketer, business project manager, tourism writer, and arts activist DJ Tizalami (real name Bongani Dube) takes us on a tour of Swaziland's capital city, Mbabane.

Best Concert Venue

Indoor: Swaziland Theatre Club is our prime indoor concert venue in the city for small to medium gigs across music, dance, theatre, comedy, and poetry. In spite of the mythical assertion that Mbabane people are not outgoing, several Swazi and visiting acts have had sold out shows at the venue.

A performance at the Swazi Theatre Club. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Outdoor: The Rootfop at The Corporate Place is fast becoming a venue of choice for many promoters, and its major advantages are centrality, as it is located right in the CBD, as well as ample parking space.

Best Night spot

In the past, Mbabane's nightlife was almost non-existent until only but five years ago when Solani's Shisanyama was established. Located right in the middle of a populous township Msunduza, Solani's is the place to be. Popularly known as eNkandla, the place does remind one of Durban's famous Eyadini Lounge which is located in the township uMlazi. From time to time, Solani hosts entertainment acts from within and outside Swaziland, proving why it is Mbabane's number one chill-out spot at the moment. Their drinks are surprisingly affordable and their meat is always good.

Photo courtesy of Solanis.

Best Restaurant

Located just five minutes from the city centre, at the Golf Course area, is Mbabane's best eat-out spot: Ramblas Restaurant. They have an a la carte menu, and serve some of the best meats, starches and veggies in town. I'm not one to recommend specific foods, but do try out their cheesecake for your dessert. You'll thank me later.

Best Date Spot

Mitchell's RestroBar & Grill is a relatively new spot in town, before the Pine Valley turn-off, along the EU Ambassador's Residence road. The combined rustic and botanical ambience makes the place perfect for falling in love with your loved one all over again. The balcony sitting area overlooks some lush greenery making it enchanting day and at night.

Best Drink to Have While in Town

An occasional glass or two of Swaziland's own lager Sibebe does quench a thirsty throat. I recommend that you get it as draught beer from any of these places in town: La Caserole, Venue AVVII (formerly Finesse Heights), Solani's Shisanyama, or Mountain Inn hotel, to fully enjoy its taste. However, if you don't take alcohol (like me, *winks*) but still wanna look cool, I'll recommend a Rock Shandy at Sibebe Rock Spur at The Corporate Place. It's purely coincidental that both Sibebe beer and Sibebe Rock Spur are named after our iconic Sibebe rock; which is the world's largest exposed granite pluton.

Best Place to Hang out with Friends

During the day, Cuba Nora Café at The Corporate Place is a cool place for hanging out and enjoying coffee and great music, and at night, if one is not at Solani's Shisanyama then they are at The Albert Millin found at Mbabane Club. The latter is quite popular with expats, but you do find some trendy locals there holding their own, you know. We are Mbabanites like that.

Emerging Spot for the Future

Bahle Gallery on Dzeliwe Street is the future. The ambience, the food, the people, the art and arts; it's always a perfect mix. It's quite an intimate venue for the conscious souls. The people I've met there all look perceptive in one way or the other.

Anyway, I can't wait to meet you in Mbabane next time you are in Swaziland. Holler at me if you need a sober tour guide.

Check out DJ Tizalami's blog here, and follow him on Twitter @djtizalami.

popular

Listen to 10 Great Songs From Johnny Clegg

Here are some of the best songs to remember South Africa's son of the soil.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that South African musician, Johnny Clegg, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Understandably, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in ever since. Long before it was cool (or even legal) to be in close proximity to blackness and anything attached to it in South Africa, Clegg, a white man, was doing just that. That is exactly why he was given the endearing title of South Africa's "son of the soil."

Growing up during Apartheid, Clegg was taught how to speak the Zulu language by a domestic worker named Charlie Mzila. In his teenage years, his appreciation for the Zulu culture continued and he soon learnt the traditional dance styles known as isishameni and also learnt how to play the Maskandi guitar. Clegg's music was a beacon of light during a very dark time in South Africa's history and his songs about Nelson Mandela (at a time where songs were banned for merely mentioning the name of the late statesman and other key struggle activists) brought the country together.

It is irrefutable that a music giant has fallen. However, Clegg leaves behind a wealth of music featuring other great South African artists and groups such as Zakwe, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Juluka/Suvuka, among several others. His music undeniably brought South Africans and people all around the world together.

We've picked ten of our favorite songs from the late musician's discography in honor of a life that was lived to the fullest.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Stonebwoy in "Tuff Seed"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Stonebwoy, Mahmoud Ahmed, Tiwa Savage x Zlatan, Africa Express, Juls x Mr Eazi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep reading... Show less
Style

Beyoncé Wore These 2 African Designers in Her Music Video for 'Spirit'

Queen Bey continues to include and give a nod to African talent in her visuals.

As we draw even closer to Disney's The Lion King opening in theaters this week, Beyoncé continues to lead the way with her new music video for "Spirit"—the first single off of the film's album she produced and curated, The Lion King: The Gift.

Shot in the Havasu Falls in Arizona's Grand Canyon, Beyoncé and her legion of beautiful dancers are one with nature and its various elements as she beckons us to be brave and hear the calling of spirit. As we noted when she announced the album, the track opens with a call and response in Swahili that translates to "Long live the king": Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme—uishi kwa.

Keeping our eyes peeled for African influences in the music video, it's evident that is seen in the choreography. We even spotted our extended fam with the afrobeats moves—the AVO Boys: Stephen Ojo and Caleb Bonney—as two of her dancers in the video.

Beyoncé continues to also give a nod to African talent through the looks she donned in "Spirit" styled by her mainstay, Zerina Akers.

Take a look at the two African designers she wore in the video below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.