The club will have 32 bedrooms and three fine-dining restaurants, one of which will be converted from Rawjee’s gold-plated showroom. “We want it to feel like a major metropolitan metropolis with a melting pot of people — as if you were in Paris, New York, or London, but with a distinctly African flavour,” Ndoro says. “But we also want to attract like-minded people: creatives who are bright and brave, and want to come together to discuss, debate, and devise ways of making Africa even greater.”
Ndoro and Rawjee want the space to have lots of different layers. Chef Daniel Gamiche will create the menus at QSL SA’s three restaurants. “The brasserie-style restaurant will serve easy food with a hint of British flavour — all made with local ingredients; there will be a fine-dining restaurant serving elegant, colourful, fresh food, perfect for entertaining member’s guests or clients; and an African-fusion restaurant which will interpret the flavours of Africa in interesting ways,” Gamiche says. “Members can choose where to eat depending on their mood.”
Petitta has already started visiting some of the organic farms in the area to source the best ingredients for his menus. “We want to provide the opportunity for our members to have easy, bar-style food, through to elegant fine-dining, all under the same roof,” he says. “And the whiskey/cognac/cigar bar will be the perfect place to round off the evening.”
Traditionally, members-only clubs have had an air of exclusion and snobbery; they’ve been viewed as stuffy places where overweight, past middle-age men submerge themselves in communal arrogance as they sink into leather armchairs and their own narrow views of the world. Neither Ndoro nor Rawjee see their club as anything like this. “It’s not going to be elitist,” Ndoro says. “Instead, it’s a place to collaborate and connect, with a backdrop of very glamorous surroundings. Even the location has been very purposeful — at the foothills of the cultural heart of downtown and the gateway to the northern suburbs — it’s east, west, north and south of the city.”
One of the club’s main functions will be networking. “The whole idea of separatism in the world is so antiquated,” Rawjee says. “We want QSL to participate in the growth and creativity of all our members.”
Founder memberships are R10 000 a year (which will go up), and for that members get access to facilities (including a spa and a gym) in the more than 3000m² building, as well as all the benefits from reciprocal clubs around the world in London, Singapore, and São Paulo, to name a few.
The club will also offer daily and weekly cultural events for members, with curated content from talks to art exhibitions, book-club events, fashion shows, and parties with top DJs and live music. “From Monday to Wednesday we’ll concentrate on more cerebral stuff — books, art, poetry; on Thursday we’ll theme events around networking, and the weekends will be more party oriented,” Ndoro says. The club will also organise free entry to partner events around Joburg, for instance, the polo.
“This is a safe haven for our members, but it’s also a very exciting place,” Rawjee says. “I think of it like this: if the Four Seasons, Starbucks and The Slow Lounge had a baby, this would be it — a place to revel in luxury, relax, work, eat, and connect.”