With great sadness, we bid farewell to Wish on Florida, a restaurant that has been a staple in the Durban food scene for the past three years. The closure of this establishment marks the end of a journey undertaken by two black entrepreneurs who dared to dream of success in a notoriously tricky industry. Philani Kweyama, Wayne Ndlovu, and Benny Maverick poured their hearts and souls into Wish on Florida, and it showed in the quality of the food, the warmth of the service, and the vibrant atmosphere of the place.
A Tragic Event
Unfortunately, the double murder of rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes and local celebrity chef Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane outside the restaurant’s doors on February 10th, 2023, changed everything. The tragedy cast a long shadow over Wish on Florida, leading to a significant decline in business and an association between the restaurant and the killings. The decision to close permanently was not easy, but it was necessary under the circumstances.
The Last Supper
To celebrate their final week of operation, the owners of Wish on Florida decided to host “The Last Supper” on April 10th. The event’s title drew criticism from some patrons, who found it insensitive and disrespectful to the families of the deceased. However, it was meant as a tribute to the restaurant’s legacy and a chance for the community to say goodbye.
A Legacy of Excellence
Despite the tragic end, Wish on Florida had a legacy of excellence that cannot be erased. The restaurant won the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur Award at the Durban Tourism Business Awards in 2022, and it was a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. The food was a fusion of local and international flavors, reflecting the diversity of Durban’s cultural landscape. The service was always friendly and welcoming, making customers feel at home. The decor was stylish and modern, with a touch of nostalgia for the city’s beachfront heyday.
A Patron’s Legacy
The late rapper AKA was one of the restaurant’s most famous patrons, and his untimely death shocked the nation. He had been nominated for six awards at the Metro FM Music Awards 2023, showing his impact on South African music. His album, Mass Country, and his hit song, Lemons (Lemonade), featuring Nasty C, were among the nominees. AKA’s legacy will live on through his music and the memories he created at Wish on Florida.
The closure of Wish on Florida is a loss for Durban’s food scene, but it is also a reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. We salute Wish’s owners, staff, and patrons in Florida for their hard work, dedication, and support. We hope they find new opportunities to shine and continue the legacy of excellence that Wish on Florida embodied. Farewell, Wish on Florida. You will be missed.