The club recently celebrated four years of existence in the entertainment and club industry of Lesotho, Cuban Linx was a brainchild of passion to see the hip-hop scene set alive and alight.
It was birthed having come hot on the heels of one of the longest serving clubs in the CBD of Maseru, Times Café, which operated from the same premises.
So Cuban Linx was founded in November 2016 as a joint that would cater strictly for the market of hip hop lovers.
Newsday Arts sat down with Phoka Lithebe, the club’s Marketing Representative who laid down the journey through the four years.
Although he joined the management of the establishment later on he said the reasons behind its concept was to provide something that was missing in the entertainment industry back then.
“For people like me who are hip hop lovers, it was difficult going out to a club and finding something that speaks to my needs. Music is integral to going out because you’d find that a genre of music like hip hop it has nostalgia,” Lithebe said.
Lithebe is one of the brains behind one of the most successful annual events dubbed Black Affluence which also caters for the hip hop fanatics. He says from his experience with the event he knew that Cuban Linx would become one of the most loved clubs in the country hence he wanted to work for it.
“Back then we were seen as a non-existing market but we could see the future, I mean there were already clubs like 4Fordy and others but they had neglected the hip hop market,” he said.
Like other businesses in the country, Lithebe says the biggest challenge is standardization and consistency from suppliers. He mentioned that suppliers fail to keep up with the rising demands in the clubs and restaurant business.
“A lot of clubs or restaurants in other countries have already packaged consistent food and beverages supply but in Lesotho you find that we are struggling to have that consistent and standard services from different suppliers.
Since its conception the club has also contributed to the struggle of unemployment in the youth especially in the arts industry, from working with photographers, to hiring Djs on a full time basis.
Phoka said they have always had a vision to incorporate all the other sectors into their business looking at how much impact they could make to the livelihoods of young Basotho.
“We are proud to have impacted a lot of local artists and djs over the years, we look forward to still doing it because we believe that the more employment we create for fellow Basotho the more business we will continue to have.
“Just look at how we celebrated our third birthday last year, we had only two international acts and the rest were Basotho artists. We tried to hire every artist that we could but at the end of the day we had international revelers who came strictly for that event, some of whom are promoters and when they see the talent Lesotho the next time they have events in their countries they book them,” he explained.
Lithebe stated that Covid-19 almost completely crippled them, this year as they had to close for the most part of it since March which was shortly after they had just reopened having closed for a month and half while renovating the place.
“Covid-19 completely crippled us, it did that in a sense that we are not seen as an industry, we are seen as fun. The truth is we have employed people on a full time basis and us not functioning meant those people went without a salary and for us nothing changed, rent is due on a monthly basis, electricity as well as other expenses,” Lithebe said.
From 2016 Cuban Linx has added a high quality of lifestyle in the country, it has promoted a lot of Djs with some being able to even host their own events at the club. It boasts itself with an approach for modern in terms of the food they offer the drinks and the music that plays at the club.
While Phoka expressed that they appreciate the nostalgia of old things in particular music, he said times are changing and so the lifestyle should not be left behind.
“What sets us apart is that we are trying to bridge the gap between young and the old. In as much as we are old we appreciate the youth,” he added.
He said there is still more to come from the club as it is here to stay but it’s hard to tell right now because of the Coronavirus pandemic and restrictions.
“I once heard someone say when you are surviving it is difficult to dream and right now we are just making sure we survive so we can’t dream of what’s next,” he said.
Cuban Linx has been able to shake up things in the entertainment industry of Lesotho, over the years the club has hosted a number of top events such as the Rock Your Team, Black Affluence, All Black Everything, Sneakers & Denim to name a few and has brought in international acts such as Nadia Nakai, TKZee, Dj Dimples, Christos VinniDaVinci amongst others.