As the first Bayede! Conference Centre opens in South Africa – with the aim of creating jobs and uniting the nations – Breaking Travel News sits down with chief executive Antoinette Vermooten to get to grips with the venture.
Breaking Travel News: Who do you expect to provide the core market for the new Bayede! venture? Will the venue be offered to international visitors, or do you expect to attract largely a South African audience?
Antoinette Vermooten: The Bayede! Restaurant and Bayede! Conference venue both overlook a beautiful landscaped garden with a tranquil atmosphere, a fountain, picturesque dam and mountains.
Bayede! also boasts its own boutique at Eikendal, offering the Zulu experience.
Here the Bayede! Royal Signature Products Selection is for sale to the public. This includes Bayede! linen shirts, male and female wear, ostrich and crocodile handbags, leather goods, Bayede! bead work of Queen Mantfombi as well as the Bayede wines.
We hope to attract international visitors!
BTN: Do you have any more information on the local wines which will be served at the venue?
AV: Bayede! Wines are referred to as Signature Selection and can be classified as the first ‘by appointment’ wine range in South Africa and Africa.
The Bayede wines are a fine selection of quality wines from South Africa, and will be available at the Bayede restaurant.
BTN: What role do you expect the summer’s World Cup to have on the development of the venue, and brand more generally?
AV: Bayede! aims to introduce oversees visitors to a Zulu experience on a wine farm.
We want to introduce our Bayede Restaurant, Conference Venue and Luxury products to the world and do believe the international visitors will be drawn to this unique experience, creating more momentum at Bayede!.
BTN: Who is providing the funding for the venture, and will the profits be reinvested in the Zulu people?
AV: Bayede! funding comes from the shareholders.
It is an initiative to create jobs and opportunities for underprivileged and rural communities. Bayede! believes in educating communities, to rekindle the manufacturing industry and to develop entrepreneurs.
Bayede is a vehicle for the many talented people in South Africa.
The Bayede Rural and Educational Development Trust was also registered as a non-profit trust that will focus on rural development and education in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
BTN: Does His Majesty King Goodwill play an active day-to-day role in the operation of the brand, or does he occupy more of an ambassador role?
AV: HM is assisting with the marketing of the brand in an effort to create jobs.
He is also the brand ambassador. All the Bayede! products are locally manufactured, mostly by underprivileged communities and people, and HM plays a pivotal role by actively driving these activities.
BTN: Are you concerned about launching such a high profile venture during a time of economic turmoil?
AV: No. With the unique product Bayede! offers and the vision to create jobs, Bayede! call upon nations to support this initiative.
Bayede wants to give hope to the hopeless, jobs to the jobless and with the Grace of God no mountain is too high!
BTN: How does the British arm of the venture – London’s Shaka restaurant – assist the brand? Is the aim to attract UK visitors to South Africa?
AV: Shaka Zulu London supports Bayede! by buying the wines that are decorated by Zulu beads, and Bayede products. Roger Payne will also assist with Bayede! Rural Development and Education development in KZN.
Bayede! sells products to create jobs and Shaka Zulu offered the first platform to Bayede! in support of creating of jobs and to alleviate poverty in South Africa.
BTN: How have you found public reaction to the present offering? Was it as expected?
AV: The public is very excited about the first Bayede! ‘by appointment brand’ for South Africa, reflecting Royalty, tradition and quality. It has been embraced by all South Africans who have been introduced to Bayede!
BTN: To date how have the original aims of the project – to bolster the economic position of the Zulu – been met?
Bayede marketing has succeeded in creating jobs, to raise awareness of the rich culture and heritage our country and in particular the Zulu nation offers.
We have already made a difference in people’s lives by giving them hope, jobs and dreams.
Bayede calls upon nations to assist with this effort, to support the Bayede! initiative.
BTN: Are their plans to develop the Bayede! brand further? Perhaps with residential options?
AV: Bayede is a new company, only two years old. We want to take it one step at a time, focussing on the brand and expanding the job creation and community investment initiative.