The new 50,000sqm regional mall introduced the biggest selection of shopping and leisure retail in the region with almost 140 stores.
The mall was enthusiastically received by local shoppers and their neighbours from surrounding towns and villages, who came out in their numbers to experience the all-new world-class shopping centre, which is now right on their doorsteps.
Its opening realises the dream of local businessman Khosi Ramovha, of Thavhani Property Investments, who had the vision for a regional mall in Thohoyandou eight years ago. To achieve this vision, Thavhani Property Investments partnered with leading South African shopping centre developers and investors, Flanagan & Gerard Property Development and Investment, and co-owners JSE-listed retail REIT Vukile Property Fund.
The mall’s opening also brings with it substantial and meaningful benefits for its local economy.
Khosikhulu Toni Mphephu Ramabulana of the royal VhaVenda people officially opened the centre during a colourful celebration held the evening before its public opening, which was attended by a long list of dignitaries and stakeholders. Guests included Thulamela Mayor Cllr Avhashoni Tshifhango, Vhembe Executive Mayor Cllr Radzilani Florence, as well as representatives of the mall’s co-owners and professional teams.
Khosikhulu Toni Mphephu Ramabulana said: “If we all choose to work together, a modern society that is characterised by human prosperity is within reach. This is more proof that backwardness and poverty can be defeated. They can always be solved if you prioritise what is important for people and defuse unnecessary tension among those who are privileged to lead. I must congratulate the pioneers of this massive development on a job well done. I would also like to specifically congratulate the owners of this huge development for having decided to invest in this part of our land. In the same breath, I must congratulate those who persuaded the investors to invest wisely by building a massive mall in this economically vibrant area of our province. We are also thankful to the leadership of the Thulamela Municipality, past and present, for creating a conducive atmosphere for this development to take place.
He also praised Khosi Ramovha for his role in making the project a reality. Ramabulana said: “As part of the role I play in changing the situation of people for the better, political leaders, royal leaders, business people and structures of civil society must converge from time to time to discuss the issue of development. We will have to identify those areas of the economy that will help to change the face of our local economy to find a way in which we can make them prosper. It is through the creation of sustainable jobs that we can sustain initiatives like this, because we need people with buying power.”
Executive Mayor, Cllr Radzilani Florence highlighted the powerful economic impacts that the mall represents for its community by reminding guests at the opening celebration of Thavhani Mall about the high levels of poverty in South Africa, and in Limpopo specifically.
Executive Mayor, Cllr Radzilani added: “This mall is only surpassed by Mall of the North in the province, which has about 150 stores. Thavhani Mall has 140 stores and its second phase will see it become even bigger. We have no doubt that one woman employed here will save a family of eight and through that we will have dealt with poverty in our area. We wish to thank all involved in bringing a development like this to our part of the world. Those returning home here, after being away for a few years, will be surprised at the changes. I wish to thank the royalty and political leadership involved for continuing to be a beacon in the development of the town.”
She concluded by promising that Thohoyandou, as the capital of Vhembe, will soon be designated as a city, with the massive new development of Thavhani Mall contributing to this. “Let us enjoy the shopping,” she said, adding: “We are also excited, as the district municipality, that very soon our revenue collection is going to improve tremendously.”
Thulamela Mayor, Cllr Avhashoni Tshifhango told the gathering: “It is not every day that we get the opportunity to open malls like Thavhani Mall. This is not just a mall, but a mall within a 21st-century landmark development. Thavhani City is set to dramatically enhance the lifestyle and landscape of Thohoyandou. Thavhani Mall is the hero of the new precinct and it is without question the most exciting retail development in Limpopo since Mall of the North. Thavhani City includes the Thavhani Office Park, auto city, medical centre and value centre, which together will entrench the overall strength of the scheme.”
He also said: “In focusing our efforts on the economy, we have always especially emphasised the role of the private sector in rebuilding our culture. Thulamela Municipality is ready in every way to co-operate with and support Thavahani Mall in its activities. We will also do our best to promote and implement more investment in Thulamela Municipality.”
Ramovha noted that the mall’s vision was inspired to provide a better shopping experience for its community and to develop a catalyst that would attract further investment and lead to a better quality of life. He emphasised that the development of Thavhani Mall had been a long journey and had not been without its challenges. “But it has been a wonderful experience.”
Dr Sedise Moseneke, Executive Director of Vukile told guests at the opening celebration that its investment in Thavhani Mall reflects the confidence it has in its partners, the region, its economy, its people and its future.
Vukile is deeply invested in Limpopo. Besides Thavhani Mall, we own another six shopping centres in the province with a market value of around R600 million. Three of these are co-owned with other parties. The centres are located at Elim, Ga-Kgapane, Giyani, Makhado, Monsterlus, and Tzaneen. Together, they make a meaningful impact on employment, retail services and the economy of Limpopo.
Thavhani Mall brings never-before-experienced retail to its region, and it caters to all shoppers. Its anchor retailers are Woolworths, Edgars, Pick n Pay and SuperSpar, and it features an impressive line-up of leading national retailers such as The Foschini Group, Truworths and Mr Price Group as well as a popular list of much-loved local businesses.