The Coronavirus may have forced a change of plan on them, but Shally’s Terrace Restaurant in Kibagabaga is still determined to celebrate Liberation Day, by honouring those who spearheaded the nation’s salvation, in a way that only a restaurant can.
A special lunch of “Naija Suya” will be offered, courtesy of the restaurant, to any veteran of the liberation war, who walks through their doors, on 4th July, the day of Liberation, twenty-seven years ago.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, so the saying goes. And for Shally’s owner, Sylvester Takwa-Senyuysenghan, the invitation to the veterans is a small way of recognising a debt that he believes can never be fully repaid.
“The nation owes a debt of loyalty to these heroes, for their loyalty to the nation, on behalf of all of us, who now enjoy the fruits of their self sacrifice” he says.
“It would have been wonderful to have had as many of the veterans as could make it to a celebratory lunch, but unfortunately, the pandemic will not allow that on this occasion. But we can still welcome them, and serve them a takeaway, and hopefully have a full, proper celebration next year, God willing.”
A native of Cameroon, Takwa-Senyuysenghan, is one of a number of PanAfricanists, who have chosen to make Rwanda home.
He left his native Cameroon in his youth, and headed first to Belgium, then the UK, establishing successful businesses in both countries.
In London, his marriage to a Rwandan woman coincided with an intensification of a long held desire to return to Africa. And for him, Rwanda offered, and still offers the promise of his hopes for the continent.
“When you have a leadership that is loyal to the people, to the nation” he declares, “the nation is inspired to respond with loyalty to that leadership, and together defend the values for which the men, and women we want to honour sacrificed.”
The word loyalty features often in Takwa-Senyuysenghan’s belief of what is needed for successful nation building.
“Loyalty crystalises maintenance of peace, security and national unity. It is the key component for any successful nation building effort, and loyalty has been the game changer for Rwanda’s success story.”
Shally’s opened its doors in Kibagabaga just over a year ago, and is one of a number of business opened by Takwa-Senyuysenghan. The restaurant serves what it advertises as Africa fusion food, including the Suya, the veterans are invited to enjoy.
For any of the guests who may wonder what on earth Suya might be, it is a popular dish in West Africa, whose popularity has also made its way to Sudan, where it is known as Agashe.
But it is a particular speciality in Nigeria (affectionately nicknamed “Naija” by Nigerians themselves) and Cameroon. Each region has its own version, often arguing that it makes the best Suya.
What they all have in common however, is that the meat, usually, beef, ram, or chicken, is skewered and fairly heavily spiced. You may ask for a salad, if you are a beginner, real Suya fans have no time for greens.
Shally’s Terrace Restaurant is at KG 10 AV 64, Kibagabaga. Tel: 0789 950 016