By Reason Razao
Think of the most glamorous, elegant and exquisite way to open your company’s eighth branch across the country.
How about a golden sunset view, umbrellas hanging in the air, swaying in the cool Harare breeze, as the twilight gives shimmering shades of last light as they lead the way to the moon and the sky full of stars.
Such was the grand opening of Yanaya’s Portal restaurant in the verdant Highlands region of the country’s sunny capital.
As if that weren’t enough, the sizzling and shimmering evening wear that rose and graced the occasion turned heads, eyes gazing in search of the best-dressed individual and couples.
To top it off, the event attracted the who is who of Harare’s high society.
Talk about big names like broadcaster Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa, wearing a black and white polka dot dress, with a design that resonated and communicated a strong sense of style.
Tembalani, a gospel sensation whose voice provokes the spiritual realm, was dressed in gray and always smiling.
Among the names who came forward in solidarity with the Yanaya brand, which seems to have touched many lives through its theme of creating a healthy lifestyle, were Pastor G, Zodwa Mkandhla, Fadzai Mahere and Tino Chinyane.
The story behind Yanaya is ordinary, it’s a common story you hear from successful people, but it’s a story of being passionate about achieving a dream when all the odds seemed to be stacked against you.
Nyarai Moyo’s journey began in a small apartment, cooking in an ordinary kitchen with an ordinary stove and ordinary pans, but her vision led her to become the success she is today.
With the help of a friend who was working on social media looking for potential bellies to fill and dazzle while Nyarie, as she is commonly known in her circles, was busy preparing orders and delivering.
It was a journey that started with 50 US dollars in hand, reminds me of J Cole’s column about having a dollar and a dream.
Either way, through building a network of loyal and reliable customers, Nyarai was able to create a brand that resonated with the need for healthy eating by capitalizing on the strong demand for a positive lifestyle.
Beginning with a branch in Joina City, the hub of the capital’s CBD, the Booth reached out and, like a budding flower, sprung up and spread its delights to every corner of Zimbabwe.
Nyarie said the journey has not been easy, like all entrepreneurs, an organization that is built from the ground up is prone to turbulence.
However, it takes a strong, courageous, visionary, persistent and daring character to overcome them and conquer a chartered terrain dominated by bumps that are obviously relentless to eliminate even the slightest sign of competition.
“When we started Yanaya, it was in 2016. My then boyfriend and I dreamed of building a lifestyle center,” Nyarie said.
“We had lofty dreams that we wanted to have this big center with four floors rising, but we didn’t have the capital to be able to see our dreams at the time.
“However, we thought we weren’t going to just sit around and fold our hands and do nothing. So one of the things that was going to be in the lifestyle center was a restaurant.
Nyarie is not a chef or a cook but a person with a vision to own a restaurant.
Making deliveries from her apartment, she got started with the help of those around her until she opened a stand that had a blender, an open sink and an open kitchen until 2020 when she finally opened the first Yanaya restaurant.
Yanaya is a Shona word that refers to rain, which symbolically represents cleansing and newness. The restaurant, according to Nyarie, brings freshness to local cuisines but mainly focuses on distributing meat with lots of green vegetables, creating a balanced diet for the body.
“We are a plant-based company, we know Zimbabweans love meat, but ours is to give you your meat with lots of vegetables.
“I know most people won’t be able to digest your raw vegetables, but we’re here to say that we want to encourage each of you to live healthier, happier lives,” Nyari said.