By Thabang Mbulase

If the glitz and the glamour that was witnessed at the launch of Back2Back, a resort perched at the foot of a koppie just outside Sebokeng in the Vaal, is anything to go by, the residents of this area are in for a great time. At the launch, the excited owner of the place, Sibongile Mphuthi, told guests that her initial idea was to build a home for senior citizens because they are close to her heart.
Sibongile said: “I have worked with abogogo and love and understand them. So, I wanted this place to be their home. But this place will not be suitable for them. I wish I can get a cool, quiet and right place.”
The name Back2Back is “borrowed” from her mum’s shebeen of the 1960s, a popular spot in Small Farms, Evaton, which used to be frequented by mostly the elite class, including whites, who were forbidden at the time to be in the townships.
She thanked everybody who had been a pillar of support since she identified and started her journey of turning this dry, unattractive space into a lively playground for the Vaal fun lovers.
A lot of thanks went to her four sisters, husband and close friends, who she said had prodded her on to run with the idea. Sibongile said as she was toying with the idea of starting a business, specifically a home for the oldies, she was fortunate to meet a Mr Mokoena, who told her he had land that he was no longer using. “A distraught Ntate Mokoena said he had abandoned his farm because since some people moved into the area, all her cattle had been stolen. “He said whenever he looks at that place, his heart sinks with pain. I told him I want that place. “He asked me how much I had. I said I had no money. I went to my husband and asked how much he had. We put our money together,” Sibongile said to appreciative laughter. She said Mokoena was kind enough and told her they can even take five years to pay him back, there was no rush. She said: “Here I am talking about unmatched kindness. Then, I started making my plans. They did not pass. I was anxious to see my dream coming to fruition.”
She said when she told inspectors who had come to check the land and her plans, they told her she couldn’t build an old age home with an entertainment area side-by-side.
“They said the two can’t go together, because when people are drunk, they are going to cause a lot of noise for the oldies. That is when the idea of a Lifestyle entertainment centre came in. I am grateful to the Diphoke family who own that kind of business in Evaton.
“They shared their ideas with me without reservations. Again, here I am talking about kindness.
“They showed me all the ropes of how to go about with that kind of an entrainment place. They were generous with their knowledge and experience. The fact that I am standing here today, it is because of them.”
The resort boasts a guest house with 12 rooms, a self-catering house for 16 people, 12 braai areas and four swimming pools. There is also a huge playground for kids.
Back2Back started operating in November 2021 before it was officially launched recently.
So far, many well-known DJs have spun their stuff there. Though it is perched in a semi-bushy area, its beauty and attractive colour is visible from about a kilometre away as it stands out boldly.
The glittering function was attended by many socialites, including former Emfuleni Local Municipality speaker, Maipato “Phado” Tsokodibane, Basic Service Lead Administrator Silas Zimu and other famous citizens of the Vaal Triangle and politicians.
Sibongile’s friend, Tshidi Morake, said one of her mate’s strength was her humility.
“Humility is her greatest strength. This woman is so humble and I sometimes wish I can emulate her. With her on my side, everything we plan, we execute,” she said.
Tsokodibane said it was time for the Vaal to raised its hand. She hoped this place will put them on the map. Zimu said he was grateful that the Vaal township has given birth to such a beautiful place.
“You must support this place instead of going to places that are far like the Emerald and others while you have an entertainment place in your own backyard. “With your support this place can grow in stature. I will be one of the first ones to sleep here when he rooms are made available,” Zimu said.

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