By HourlyHits Reporter
TOP Harare restaurant Jam Tree has been caught up in a nasty racism storm following an incident in which a black couple was racially attacked by a white manager at the Mt Pleasant eatery.
Calling itself the “coolest bar and restaurant in Harare”, the Jam Tree Bar and Restaurant offers a relaxed dining environment, with a child friendly play area and great out-door seating.
However, it has been exposed as a racist enclave which operates a whites-only secluded section where blacks are barred from accessing. Management has also been accused of harassing black workers in front of clients.
In a long complainant exposing the abuse he suffered at the hands of an unnamed white manager, Harare man Nyari Munda explained that it wasn’t the first time he was abused by the same manager, believed to be a South African national.
“Yesterday my wife and I went to get food at this establishment (Jam Tree), and on getting there, we asked if we could park in the back car park by the golf course whilst we wait for our food. The waiter told us it was okay and we should park in the usual spot.
“We drove there and parked on the grass literally three metres away from the owners car. There was a gardener there watering the grass and he didn’t seem to have an issue with where we parked.
“To my surprise this white South African guy (the owner), came from nowhere and started yelling at us for parking on wet grass. The guy called us dumb, stupid and all sorts of derogatory words.”
Munda said he and his partner kept their cool and apologized but the manager wouldn’t have any of it and angrily charged at them.
“I urged him to communicate properly since we are regular customers of over 8 years, and we are here to promote his business. He jumped right back into a crazy fit and said we don’t need people like you supporting my business.
“The guy was so heated at some point I thought he wanted to fight me. He kept pulling crazy faces, taunting me, storming away then coming back as if he’s about to fight. Once again I kept calm and watched this mad man talk to us like we are worthless.
“I apologised again and cautioned him to address clients nicely but he wouldn’t have it and started with the insults again. He then stormed into Jam Tree, where we heard him yelling at the workers at the top of his voice.
“Soon after the waiters including the chef rushed to the car park and started apologising on this guys behalf. They begged us to stay but at this point we were fed up. Even the gardner was shocked at this guys conduct but he just watched in amazement.”
Concluding his narrative, Munda revealed that the same person is known for talking to black tenants like they were worthless.
“He openly shouts at his workers in front of guests and uses alot of racist derogatory statements. A year and half ago the same guy told me to f*** off when I complained about my meal. I threatened to go to social media and he said ‘it’s people like you we don’t want here’…
“He has no respect and he thinks this is South Africa. The workers always look terrified when he’s around and he talks to them like dogs. Jam Tree was a better place before this new management took over.
“After 9 years of being a loyal client, I don’t think I’ll ever go back there again.”
The complaint drew heated debate on social media, with many calling for a boycott of the plush restaurant. Others demanded an apology not just to Munda but to the entire nation.
In an effort to tame the raging storm, Jam Tree issued a statement confirming that indeed a confrontation took place as Munda said. It apologized to Nyari and his wife but “vehemently” denied being racist.
Jam Tree said its stocks of drinks are mainly from local producers and used that to justify that i wasn’t racist. It said even the music it plays and the food it served showe that it supported cultural diversity.
However, the restaurant denied that their manager insulted a client using racial undertones. Jam Tree also says the same manager couldn’t be racist considering that he freely taught workers how to mix drinks. That statement alone irked many people even further. – HOURLYHITS.COM □