Some time in late June, I went to the Nakumatt Ukay shopping complex to use the Books First cyber café as I normally do. I hadn’t been there in a while. I found that a lot had changed and that major renovations were under way.
Focused on what I was going to do at the Internet café, I did not at first pay much attention to the changes. Instead, I pranced quickly up the stairs to get to my favorite workstation. All seemed normal enough until I realized that my preferred workstation was…gone!
To be honest, I noticed something was amiss a little before that when the bar of Sherlock’s Den was not where I expected it to be. Unusually, it was across the room. I didn’t think much of the change, thinking it was only a superficial one affecting the pub. Boy was I wrong! In place of the workstations that were usually located in the corner of Sherlock’s Den, I found a group of people eating, drinking, and merrily chatting away. Only then did I stop to take in the changes that were so evident around me.
As I mentioned before, the bar was now located across the room from where it had been before. The most noticeable change, which I liked very much, was that everything was bathed in beautiful red and purple light. I even noticed a disco ball, which gave Sherlock’s Den a very festive atmosphere. Sherlock’s Den had been completely remodeled and finally looked like a place where I would enjoy hanging out.
Going with the flow, I made my way back downstairs to see if I could find somewhere to connect my laptop. Here too, I was struck with the number of changes that I saw. Instead of the numerous food stands that were housed at Books First Ukay previously, I saw only one display case filled with baked goods. The display was well lit and the wall behind it was covered with warm brick-colored tiles. The bakery looked very modern and avant-garde.
On that particular day, the area was being painted a warm mustard color. This made it feel warmer and cozier. As I plugged in my laptop and settled down to get some work done, I had a smile on my face.
Renovations at Nakumatt Ukay Include the Creation of a Beautiful Social Space
A few days later, I returned to Nakumatt Ukay, once more to use the Internet facility. Still, more had changed! There were umbrella-covered patio seats outside the bakery so that customers could enjoy the outdoors while delighting in the wares of the bakery and Sherlock’s Den. Books First, the bookstore, had undergone renovation and was finally open again, though not much had changed.
The cyber café was now a fully-fledged computer room located beyond the bookstore. I call it a computer room, because it reminded me of so many computer rooms that I had seen during my grade school and university days. Unlike so many noisy, uncomfortable cyber cafés, this was a place where you could buckle down and get some serious computer work done in a quiet environment.
To say the least, the transformation at the Nakumatt Ukay centre is remarkable. This is not even taking into consideration the fact that the center is now open 24 hours a day, for the most part. In Books First and Sherlock’s Den, Ukay has provided a great place to hang out, to eat and drink, surf the net, and buy good books.
Looking for a good book to read? How about a book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Check out my review of two of her books in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah & Half of A Yellow Sun.
If you haven’t been recently, please take some time to go observe the changes. I think you will be very pleased.
Photo Credits: Dynamosquito
(Looking for interesting books to read? Check out two books I recommend in my latest post 33 Sunset, Food, Books, and Other Pictures From Around East Africa (…and Botswana).)