The Rotunda in Camps Bay is 117 years old. The domeshaped structure began life as a concert hall, but has also served as a theatre, ballroom, exhibition hall, conference venue, and now, the sexiest hangout in Cape Town.
You only need to pop into the venue on any given day to feel the buzz: Rookies signing up for lessons, influencers wanting to be caught on camera at the latest hot spot, and groups of friends enjoying a game and a laugh together, followed by a drink at the newly built terrace café surrounding the court.
A South African-Swedish business consortium is responsible for serving up this new feast. However, the brain behind the business is serial entrepreneur Philippe “PK” Kjellgren of PK’s List fame. The Swede has visited over 2 000 luxury hotels in 140 countries and is widely considered to be the
global authority on where to stay. He and his Canadian wife Vi, fell in love with Cape Town on their travels and decided to put down semi-permanent roots here.
Megon Chavhanga is his Chief Padelista, managing operations for South Africa and the South African expansion of the group. The businesswoman, writer, and speaker is also the wife of former Springbok rugby player Tonderai.
Padel is a hybrid between tennis and squash, and it is universally referred to as the fastest growing sport in the world, with more than 10 million people playing in over 60 countries. Now Africa Padel is giving those on the African continent the opportunity to be part of the global phenomenon.
With the sport tipped to be included in the 2024 Paris Olympics, it is hardly surprising to see tennis greats such as Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova among the early adopters. But others known to be big fans include Carlos Sainz of Ferrari and Charles Leclerc, as well as some of the biggest names in football, such as David Beckham, Jurgen Klopp, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Lionel Messi has installed
a padel court at his Barcelona home where he plays often with former teammate Luis Suarez.
Already, the court inside the historic Rotunda at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay is booked for eight to 10 hours a day, and it is not even formally operating yet. This club will open mid-June and by October, building up momentum during a soft launch June to October, when Padel Africa officially launches, there will be at least another three clubs up and running (at the V&A Waterfront, Constantia, and in Johannesburg) with potentially Clovelly Country Club, Franschhoek, Plettenberg Bay, and others close to completion.
The group is administered by the Africa Padel Association, which is chaired by Megon with South African Luke Potter as President, and which will oversee the development of the sport here and across the continent. As part of its philanthropic commitment, Africa Padel will build and equip one court in a disadvantaged community for every 10 commercial courts built.
Premier Magazine – October 2021