The A-Listers

SOCIALS | Surprising just who a DIY warehouse launch can pull

05 May 2019 - 00:00

Take a national anthem-wrecking mampara, throw in a green-fingered hunk and a reality TV host, add a yellow carpet and a plank replacing the usual ribbon ... and you have something that's a far cry from the typical A-Listers social do.
It was a bright Tuesday morning when I broke through the boerewors curtain to reach the new re-invented Builders Warehouse hardware store in Boksburg on Gauteng's east rand.
Walking along that sunny carpet (a nod to the retailer's branding), I greet Jacaranda FM's award-winning jock, Martin Bester, before heading into a fancy marquee.
It is there that I meet Tebogo Thekisho, better known as ProVerb, the rapper and long-running Idols host and producer.
Rather than chat about his uncoupling from Liesl Laurie (picked up after they deleted each other's pics from their Instagram feeds back in October), we discuss DIY.
ProVerb says he's a regular hardware store visitor. His next project is pitching a gazebo on the roof of his home.
"I got the idea from seeing what my next-door neighbour has done," he says.
In the corner of my eye I spot Kurt Darren, the crooner who made headlines for his butchered rendition of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika at the Varsity Cup final last month. He heads off to sit with Martin and another radio host, Alex Caige, as the event gets started when Pro climbs up on stage to welcome us.
Up follows a range of Builders folk like Llewellyn Walters to tell us all about how they are "bringing digital into the business".
Llewellyn, though, is interrupted by the sound of a car speeding down the nearby road but shrugs it off, quipping: "I always forget we are in Boksburg."
In front of the store we witness a plank being sawn in half to herald the store's opening before we head inside and put on wireless headsets for a guided tour.
It's a sprawling 15,170m2 space modelled not only to make it easier for contractors to pick up building supplies but to appeal to DIYers too.
Paying close attention is Thato Mbha, who is dressed in a yellow tracksuit and makes his dough selling blinged-up properties through his company, Mzansi Cribs.
More surprising is Maps Maponyane, who takes particular interest in the store's garden centre. It turns out the hunk is also DIY-inclined, and he opens a "Renovation" folder on his smartphone to show me the vertical garden in his living room.
No function is complete without grub, and on arrival we were served beef pastrami-filled mini croissants and savoury eclairs topped with "bacon confetti" and scrambled eggs.
After the tour, the lunch spread extended to sticky barbecue chicken kebabs, beef sliders and passion fruit-flavoured macaroons - and not a boerie roll in sight.

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