Um­folozi’s new ‘cow­girl’ thinks big

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO BUSINESS - Or­rin Singh

LIGHT-HEART­EDLY de­scrib­ing her­self as the ‘new cow­girl in town’, Nishara Naidoo is gear­ing up to break bar­ri­ers and in­ject some life into the area.

Nishara was re­cently ap­pointed as Mar­ket­ing Man­ager for the Um­folozi Ho­tel Casino Con­ven­tion Re­sort and has some big plans mov­ing for­ward.

With al­most 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in events plan­ning, brand­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing, Nishara of­fers some in­trigu­ing in­sight into the di­rec­tion she plans on tak­ing Um­folozi Casino.

‘I want to po­si­tion it as a re­sort be­cause I need to get the pub­lic to un­der­stand that we are not just a casino.

‘This is re­ally a jewel and I can’t fathom why it isn’t where I think it should be.

That’s why I want to take it there.’

Her im­pres­sive ré­sumé, which boasts an hon­ours de­gree in drama and English from the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal, a mas­ter’s de­gree in brand man­age­ment from Vega, as well as a host of other diplo­mas and cer­tifi­cates re­lat­ing to project and events man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing and health and safety, pro­vides only a glimpse of what she has achieved thus far.

She pre­vi­ously worked for com­pa­nies such as the Dur­ban In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre (Se­nior Events Man­ager), The Hardy Boys (Group Head Ac­count Di­rec­tor for Africa, Mid­dle East and Turkey) as well as the eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium Brandy Strat­egy Con­sul­tant).


The en­ter­tain­ment fea­tures that Nishara aims to bring to the area in­clude a portable wa­ter park for the fes­tive pe­riod as a start.

‘This park will not be some­thing per­ma­nent, but rather some­thing that we can bring in, have set up and en­sure it is ex­tremely safe - be­cause that is one thing that I feel strongly about - safety.

‘This is not some­thing small.

We’re talk­ing about a ma­jor wa­ter park in the sense that some of the rides are as high as the big ones at Ushaka Ma­rine World.

‘For now it’s some­thing we want to try and do on an an­nual ba­sis, but who knows, if we get the right peo­ple on board, it could be­come a per­ma­nent fea­ture.

‘Cou­pled with this wa­ter park, which will be very fam­ily ori­en­tated, we want to also ex­plore the as­pects of a night mar­ket with food stalls, movies on a big screen and a whole lot more,’ she said.

The wa­ter park will run be­tween 13 De­cem­ber and 6 Jan­uary.

All day passes will in­clude ac­cess to age zoned rides, a craft mar­ket and out­door food courts.


Apart from their Christ­mas lunch this year, Nishara has con­cep­tu­alised mul­ti­ple New Year’s eve events and has in­cluded her net­work of off-the-chart en­ter­tain­ers and light­ing spe­cial­ists for Zu­l­u­land.

The NYE mas­quer­ade ball will also present a kids’ mini mas­quer­ade ball as Nishara is well aware that this spe­cial day is a fam­ily day. The con­trolled and safe kid­dies’ area will in­clude a kids’ buf­fet, bub­ble ma­chines, mask paint­ing, disco and nap camp.

And while one might feel that the mother of two is way in over her head, big events are no strangers to Nishara.

This year she headed up the pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing for the Am­s­tel Boom­town event at the an­nual Vo­da­com Dur­ban July, South Africa’s big­gest horse rac­ing event – some­thing which she seemed to have ex­e­cuted with ease.

While Nishara has been in the area for less than a month, she says she has al­ready picked up on a few nu­ances that she looks for­ward to try­ing to change.

‘What I’ve no­ticed is that there’s this sort of ‘them and us’ thing go­ing on be­tween Em­pan­geni and Richards Bay.

‘I’m look­ing for­ward to blur­ring those lines, but as I said, the main thing is chang­ing peo­ple’s per­cep­tions that we are just a casino.

‘When I ask peo­ple what they’re do­ing this week­end, I want them to not even think twice be­fore say­ing ‘Um­folozi Casino’, be­cause we want to cre­ate that at­mos­phere where peo­ple have things to con­stantly do here.

‘We have the space, we have the se­cu­rity and now it’s time to up the gear in terms of our events,’ she said.


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