Nothing could have prepared the three people that started Zula for the story ahead of them. I and my dear sexy husband Vusa got married in Cape Town in 2004 and just so happened to end up in The Lounge on Long Street. A legendary bar in it's time for all walks of life and a few non living patrons that loved its offbeat relaxed vibe and late night Dj sets. We were rather merry and listening to DJ Trouble (RIP) blaring on the decks and while taking a smoke break out the back said to each other "Can you imagine owning this place....what could be done if it had a bit of heart instead of just a pulse" We fell in love with the location and the balcony but saw it as a nice night in a foreign land on our journey of love and nothing more.
After arriving back to our lives in London I was plagued with the Cape Town pull; dreams, ideas, fantasies and the like. We loved our lives, friends and families back home and were both in very good musical careers with bright futures but something about Cape Town made me surf the net for the intention of finding a holiday home we could rent out or have as a base. To my surprise the first time I logged in to scout for our little nest abroad we stumbled across a bar for sale, The Lounge. We were skint from our wedding and in no way financially equipped to buy a bar and immigrate but do you think that stopped us? Not a chance! We borrowed the money from a friend to get back on flights, pulled sickies at work and bullied my dear and close Mum (the only one of us that had funds in her house to do such a venture) to get back on a flight to check it out. We were met with nothing short of madness from the existing owner and after experiencing nothing but hurdles and disappointments we got back on the plane consoling ourselves that at least we got an extra holiday to the honeymoon period even if it had left us with more debt.
But the universe works in mysterious ways and a year later we signed on the place without having visa’s, permits or funds. Three weeks before we were due to leave we finally received our business permits. We landed with a wing and a prayer and knowing no one, with our lives in one bag. We were all a bit numb and shell shocked but set to opening Zula. We opened within a 7 week period of refurbishment and every day since has been 7 days a week creativity, blood, sweat and tears (of laughter and pain). There is nothing like jumping into life and risking your all and your families all to a make or break situation to instill a sense of learning about yourself and the world around you.
We survived 7 successful years and then were faced with a go big or go home situation. Again balls to the wall and risking it all we chose to go big. And so we find ourselves in Cape Town 7 and half years on further down Long Street in a magical spot for live music. We have a beautiful little boy that keeps us sane in the mad world of business and life and although it hasn’t been without its heartache and challenges, I would change a moment for anything as it has made us what we are today……wrecks!
Music is our passion and creativity our daily bread and it is this passion that has ended up attracting the best acts and guests to pass through our doors. We haven’t had the budget we would have liked as we started from minus and it is a long journey up when you start from nothing but we have never let our limitations stop our dreams and although compromise has become our middle name I am so proud of what we have achieved in a land so far from what we know and affirms us. It has been a learning curve I thank and I am excited at being a part of the South African Music industry for years to come.
We would like to thank all of you that have got it, supported it and loved Zula for what it is and strives to be!
Here’s to supporting the legends of tomorrow, today!
Big love, Zoë