Q. IF Reneilwe Wright popularly known as Manex didn’t own his own nightclub, he could certainly get a job as a bouncer at one.
The muscular giant of a man who looms large at 2.10 metres certainly has the build and ambition to make it big in the entertainment industry, currently dominated by another Mr Big in his hometown of Maun.
The 24-year-old local lad has already caused a stir with the news that he’s bringing American Hip Hop star Lil Wayne to the frontier town.
Founder and solo owner of Fresh Exclusive club, Manex is planning to open more joints around the country. DANIEL CHIDA talked to the big man.
Q. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I am the second born in a family of three boys, sandwiched in-between my elder brother Elex and Tshepo the last-born.
All of us are doing different things. I am an entrepreneur and own some property and a nightclub – Fresh Exclusive in Maun.
After doing some research I realised there was need of a second club in Maun to boost the local nightlife.
I also like entertainment and I told myself that by having a club it would not only bring employment for youth but also help local artists who are suffering.
Q. How would you describe your club?
Fresh Exclusive is an urban club that offers something different to the community. It has three sections – VIP, Lounge and Open bars.
The club boasts of LCD and cameras all around.
Q. What is your target audience?
We are targeting working class and business communitywith ages ranging from 22 to 55.
School going students are not allowed, only those at tertiary levels, and if there are doubts you will have to provide proof of identity.
There is no how we are going to party with school-going kids. We also request our clients to adhere to formal dress code.
Q. Where did you get the funds?
I do have a property Company called Fresh Hatch and Stanbic Bank helped in funding the project to the tune of P2 million.
Q. How many employees are you having?
I have 18 employees including security guards who work hand in hand with those we use on sub-contracts.
Q. Are you involved in other business?
Yes I am into cattle farming and horses. I do have a big farm.
Q. You have been described as someone who likes life in the fast lane – how true is that?
That is my life and I invested a lot in it. People see me driving a Range Rover and think that I do it for fun, hell no, it is for my safety.
Soon I will be driving a Chopper and Porsche because at 2.1 metres there is no how I can go for small cars.
Q. Apart from cars you are said to have a taste for beautiful women and celebrities, and you even bought one of them a brand new car – true or false?
That is not true.
I like women who are hard workers and not afraid to take on challenges in life.
I know the rumours that I once bought someone a car but that is a lie.
Q. Another popular belief is that you wasted the fortune you inherited from your parents – your take on that?
People like to repeat things they hear, but they do not know what I inherited and what I did not inherit.
I started out in business while my parents were still alive, and that helped. The concept of not fearing risk is the one that keeps me going.
I started my businesses at the age of 18 and I am now 24, and still going strong. I am very proud of myself and of my achievements.
Q. Back to the club, how did the name Fresh Exclusive come up?
The name came because it is distinctive and different from what people were used to.
I can guarantee that anyone who comes to my club will get value for money and experience something different, hence the name Fresh Exclusive.
Q. Which big names have you featured so far and who should we look forward to seeing?
I have hosted the likes of Robie Rob, Groove Cartel, DJ Sly, Ricky Lamar, Traxx and Timmy. During the festive season I will bring Professor, Tira, Black Coffee and Boju Mojo.
If things go according to plan, I will be the first person to bring Lil’ Wayne from United States of America.
I am still working on that deal to bring him to Maun, so watch this space.
Q. How has the introduction of the alcohol levy and change of operation times, affected business?
We are still doing well because our marketing team knows how to advertise our events and keep things to time.
Between opening our doors at seven in the evening and the licenced closing time we are able to make enough money to keep going.
Q. What else can be done to keep you in the business?
Government should fund the entertainment industry and diversify the economy.
The policy of increasing alcohol prices does not work. I believe the solution is to come up with public awareness workshops to sensitise the public on the dangers of alcohol abuse.
The more you hike beer prices the more people turn to drugs and that is worse.
Q. The community of Ngamiland were used to Trekkers nightclub but you seem to have made an edge over it, how did you do that?
It is about meeting the customers’ demands and offering different services. Each weekend we include different style performers.
We stick to our slogan – ‘Fresh For You, Where Urban Meets Class.’ Kgalagadi breweries and Windhoek breweries also help us with promotion products.
Q. You and the owner of Trekkers are both big guys and now competitors – how is your relationship?
I treat Tops as a dad and friend who I can approach for help. He can also approach me if there is need.
We have different targets and there is no how we are going to clash.
Q. Some claim nightclubs are hotbeds for criminal activities. How do you manage the problem?
I do have enough security, which patrols even the parking area to make sure that there is no music played in cars.
Those who do not have the intention of going inside the club are not allowed a certain distance from the club to avoid congestion.
I plan to have guards patrolling with dogs and those who idle and drink at the roadside will be arrested.
I will engage police because I do not want to tarnish our image.
There are street hawkers who come pretending to be selling food, but later sell drinks and drugs – I will not allow that to happen.
Q. What other development are expected?
I am extending the club to make it a double story and add more paving.
I am also opening another joint in Francistown around April next year and in Gaborone by December.
Q. Why clubs?
I am doing it for youth and artists because that is the only way they can survive.
Q. Can Maun rival Gabs as the entertainment capital?
I believe that what you bring to the people is what makes nightlife interesting no matter where you are based.
Q. We have had All Black and Stiletto parties and this Friday it will be All White, while on Saturday DJ Colastraw will be here.
He has been based in South Africa and Fresh Exclusive will be the first to bring him home. I believe in bringing variety to our customers
By day Maun has the added attraction of the Delta and National Parks, then at night you have top class entertainment. It’s great for tourists and locals alike.
Q.You now have a 50 word free advert.
I would like to take this opportunity and tell the world that there is a new club in Maun and the club has a VIP section which can be booked in advance for your privacy.
Artists can also conduct their interviews there. So far we are the safest place in Africa when talking about entertainment.
Q. How are you going to spend your weekend?
I will be at my home, which is more of an Island, and doing a boat cruise before heading to the club.
Q. Thank you for your time
You are welcome big guy.
FULL NAMES: Reneilwe Wright
KNOWN AS: Manex
DATE OF BIRTH: 08th June 1988
PLACE OF BIRTH: Maun
MARITAL STATUS: In a relationship
FAVOURITE DRINK: Malawian Shanty
HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Cape Town
FAVOURITE MUSIC: Hip Hop and R&B
ROLE MODEL: Late Father and
Mother (Lazenby and Gaile Wright)