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NEW MANAGEMENT AT RAINBOW (article first published : 2001-08-19)

After two months of “highly enjoyable negotiations” regarding the purchase of the Rainbow Restaurant and Jazz Club, Ben Pretorius and Nicola and Neil Comfort are proud to announce that the Comforts will be taking over the reins at the legendary Jazz Club in Pinetown as of September 1.

Ben Pretorius and Billy Mthembu opened the doors of the Rainbow Restaurant on December 17, 1981, thus becoming the first establishment of its kind situated in a supposedly white area that catered to the working class African population.

Initially restricted to selling food and sorghum beer, Benbil (Pty) Ltd finally gained the right to sell alcohol thus becoming the first such tavern in Natal. Through Ben's passion for music and his involvement in the politics of the time, it was not long before live concerts were staged at the Rainbow, both to celebrate local culture and offer a form of protest to the government of the day. Through the years, the Rainbow has played a significant role in establishing and promoting the careers of many of South Africa's truly great musicians.

Neil Comfort has been involved in the production of most of the live concerts staged at the Rainbow over the past five years but recently Ben and Pam Pretorius have been busy with their Ufudu Flyfishing Experience venture which meant that few concerts were staged in the last two years.

In June, Neil assisted Pam in the staging of a surprise concert to celebrate Ben's 50th birthday, a concert that featured the Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi Quintet and the Darius Brubeck Quartet. At this concert the seed of the new ownership was sown and, with Ufudu now doing really well, Ben and Pam felt that the time had come to hand over the reins.

In celebration of the first of another 20 years of concerts at the Rainbow, acclaimed Durban songstress Busi Mhlongo will perform on September 2. This will be the first of many monthly concerts to be held at the Rainbow on the last Sunday of each month, featuring the best in South African roots and jazz performers.

The Rainbow Restaurant and Jazz Club is situated at 23 Stanfield Lane, Pinetown. Doors open at 12h00 and seating is on a first come first serve basis. Tickets R30. More details from (031) 702-9161 or Neil on 083 463-8044, or e-mail: bandwagon@artslink.co.za




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