Soccer legend Lucky Lekgwathi relaunches Grootman restaurant after looters took everything

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Lucky Lekgwathi's restaurant, Grootman was looted during the political unrests in Gauteng and KZN last year.
Lucky Lekgwathi's restaurant, Grootman was looted during the political unrests in Gauteng and KZN last year.

He wanted something different for himself. Every few years he would see soccer legends die poor after retirement. 

And he wanted to make sure that didn't happen to him. So he opened a restaurant in the heart of Soweto. 

Three months later, it was looted and he was left with nothing. With over R400 000 in damages, he could have given up.

But former Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi (44) decided to give it another try, with the help of generous donors from all over the country.

Lucky was devastated last year after his restaurant, Grootman in Kliptown, Soweto was looted during the #ZumaUnrest protests.

Now, six months after the violent unrest that swept through the country, he's back up and running, this time in Southgate. 

He says that he is grateful that there were people kind enough to lend him a helping hand to make sure his business boomed again.

“I am grateful to the media, the public and other organisations as well as my friends and family that have made sure that we are back on our feet. My main goal was to make my customers happy as well as to expand the business.”

The estimated damage to Lucky's property was  roughly +-R400 000.

“I am grateful to everyone who donated to me to relaunch my business, all their efforts have made a great impact. Every R50 or R100 and even the people that made huge donations like R10 000, all of them made a huge difference in our restaurant. Today I have relaunched because of their kindness.”

Read more| Former Orlando Pirates' Lucky Lekgwathi heartbroken over looted restaurant – 'I was trying to create jobs'

He says that the community has been very supportive, and they have vowed that should there be another unrest or protest in the country that affects townships businesses, his Grootman establishment will be protected.

“They are very excited. They’ve said that even if the looters can come back there is no way that they can damage Grootman. They are enjoying the food and I have seen the same customers come back because of our food and service.”

He relaunched in Southgate, and he says that the support he has received even from his former teammates and soccer legends has meant a lot to him.

“I want to thank Southgate community for their welcome. On the day of the launch they came in numbers. I want to thank the soccer legends who came to support me and even my former coach as well as industry actors, I am grateful. They made it a success as the community was very excited to see them.”

Grootman Restaurant is Lucky's pride and joy and he hopes that his efforts to retain wealth after retirement will motivate his fellow soccer stars to be business minded and plan ahead for their future.

“The shop is so beautiful; I think it’s one of the best restaurants and it is outstanding. When I entered the shop I was like wow, this shop is beautiful, and I want to expand to other provinces. I even tell my staff that we have to uphold that standard. My business partners have outdone themselves with the design of the shop now.”

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