Kulani Nkuna
3 minute read
24 Jul 2014
7:00 pm

Restaurant aims to make jazz accessible

Kulani Nkuna

Just when Georgie Porgie and Kenny Makhenzo had put the matter of their spilled Scotch to rest after hearing about the migration of the Joy Of Jazz Festival to Johannesburg, Bra Gibb told them of further developments in the north.

Restaurateur Winston Mosiake is involved closely with operations.

“Eksê ouens, there is a nuwe jazz gontjie daso by Sandton af,” Bra Gibb said. (There is a new jazz joint in Sandton).

Georgie and Kenny shifted in their chairs uneasily as they considered carefully what Bra Gibb was saying.

“Yes there is a gontjie called Winnie’s in Wendywood. You two should consider mixing it up with the larnies there for a change,” Bra Gibb continued.

“It’s called Winnie’s Soul & Jazz Restaurant. Ncaa plek met ncaa mense, eksê.” (It’s a nice place, with nice people).

The entrance at Winnie's Soul & Jazz restaurant in Wendywood has been decorated by owner Winston Mosiake, who also enjoys photography as a hobby. Pictures: Refilwe Modise

The entrance at Winnie’s Soul & Jazz restaurant in Wendywood has been decorated by owner Winston Mosiake, who also enjoys photography as a hobby. Pictures: Refilwe Modise

Georgie and Kenny usually enjoy their tipple in downtown Johannesburg. But the climate is beginning to change and, if anything, Georgie and Kenny regard themselves as progressive jitas (guys) and not outoppies (old-timers) stuck in a forgotten era. Sensing that his friends were warming up to the idea of trying something new, Gibb went in for the kill.

“Die einaar, ou Winston Mosiake, is ‘n oulik mjita,” Bra Gibb continued. (The owner is a cool guy).

“Ok, let’s go check it out,” Georgie Porgie relented.

On the wall leading to the entrance of Winnie’s, an image of John Coltrane speaks to how seriously jazz is taken. Paintings, some of the images sourced from photographs, give the place its character, and the earthy decor gives the restaurant its homely feel. For owner Winston Mosiake it makes sense to have such a place in the north because most of its clientele reside in the area.

“I love music. I love jazz and I have a large collection,” Mosiake says.

Kunle Ayo in fine form with his band at Winnie's Soul & Jazz Restaurant in Wendywood.

Kunle Ayo in fine form with his band at Winnie’s Soul & Jazz Restaurant in Wendywood.

“There are a lot of places in Johannesburg where there is jazz, but in the northern suburbs these places are very few and far between. This is a spot to relax, enjoy good music and have good food. A lot of people used to travel all the way to Johannesburg for jazz, but we thought we would bring jazz closer to them and, as you can see by the turnout, people appreciate having this music closer to their doorstep. It is the place to be.”

Every Friday there is a live band at Winnie’s and, by 8pm, the place is teeming – a mature crowd listening attentively to Kunle Ayo, who is placed front and centre; not just there to provide background music. Ayo is vibrant, playing standards from Nigeria and interacting specifically with female members of the audience.

Old-timers Georgie and Kenny are settled, taking in the jazz with their whiskey, neat. Satisfied with himself, Bra Gibb tells them sushi king Kenny Kunene was in the house the previous week. As he says this, EFF commissar Dali Mpofu walks in, followed seconds later by guitarist Selaelo Selota, sans his guitar. Georgie and Makhenzo tip their fedoras to Bra Gibb for making them hip to this joint in the north.

Friendly staff characterise the warm ambience in the restaurant.

Friendly staff characterise the warm ambience in the restaurant.