By Marley

With the Ziggies reunion just a few days away and Vanessa’s memories bringing so many friends from the past together, we sat down with another Ziggies patron – Keli Stanissis. Although her memories are a bit later on when Ziggies became Lloyd’s and Upstairs at Lloyd’s.

I met Keli for a milkshake at a local restaurant on a sunny Friday. Her excitement shines in her eyes as she starts talking about a good 21 years ago here – yes 1995 when she was still underage and got into the strictly controlled club with a fake ID. “I was the youngest of my waiter crowd and didn’t want to miss a thing” Keli used to work at O’Hagan’s Nelspruit “Lloyd took that fake ID at a stage and locked it up in the safe. Until the day I got my ID and showed him at the door my real and legal ID book. He wasn’t too impressed. But I got an Archers shot on the house” she tells me with a laugh. I, Marley, didn’t know Lloyd Loram, the legend behind Ziggies who sadly passed away earlier this year. From what I heard he was anti-drugs, pro-drinking and created a venue where life long friends were made.

 Keli and Lloyd on her 21st birthday - photo provided by Keli
Keli and Lloyd on her 21st birthday
(photo provided by Keli)

Wikus Malan was the DJ along with his mom, Susan Strauss working the door and with the money box, who was also very strict. “Bouncer” Hendrik sounds like a character as well “He was a bit weird,” Keli says “He was very Afrikaans, very straight and followed the rules to a tee”. For tannie Susan, as everyone called her she said she was just as strict and was more the queen in the kingdom – in a good way with a heart of gold. I’m pretty sure she made sure everyone did what they were supposed to do.

 Wanda, JP, Debbie, Rowan, Keli, Justin, Ig - front Roxy - photo provided by Keli
Wanda, JP, Debbie, Rowan, Keli, Justin, Ig – front Roxy
(photo provided by Keli)

I ask Keli to describe the building for me what it looked like because currently, it needs a paint job. The building is still to this day located at No 3 Sitrus Cres in Nelspruit. Which is still next to the new revamped Pick ‘n Pay centre. The building looks small from the street but it’s actually quite big inside. “There was about three pool tables inside by the blackened out window with some concrete benches and tables. Then a railing with the dance floor. A small stage and DJ booth in the corner with a downstairs bar” Keli explains by drawing me an imaginary picture. “Then Lloyd took the shop next door as well, broke through the wall and expanded. He added another bar and more seating places”. Apparently, Ziggies got too big and Lloyd moved it upstairs to an area that was bigger.

Lloyd, Debbie, Justin, Albie  - Lloyds after Ziggies - photo provided by Keli
Lloyd, Debbie, Justin, Albie – Lloyds after Ziggies
(photo provided by Keli)

Way back in the old days, around the 70’s the whole upstairs was the Ten Pin Bowling venue in Nelspruit. In the ’90s at a stage, the upstairs was a rollerblading rink/skate park located inside way at the back. As a kid at the age of 11/12, we were always wondering what a night club looks inside – we never had the chance.

“If you have to mention something then mention the weird tiles in the bathroom,” said Keli with a sparkle in her eye. When I mentioned this to some of the other older Ziggie’ers they all agreed – the club had weird bathroom tiles. I think it was either because of too much Archers shots or well you can make up your own mind about that. This was another thing of Lloyd that was well known – his love for Archers Schnapps, peach flavour. If you were clubber in the early 00’s you would remember Archers brought out the mixer or slet sappie as we called it. Now back in the Ziggie days you paid R5 for an Archers shot. Nowadays, I don’t even know the price. “It is because of Lloyd that I can’t stand, to this day, the smell of Archers Peach or able to drink Sambuca,” Keli tells me.

During the rave period that hit Nelspruit, you wore thick sole Buffalo shoes. That was the sneaker of choice with Converse not even coming close to it during the ’90s. “When Ziggies had a foam party us ravers would sit on the wall so that we don’t wet our Buffaloes,” Keli says, “The running joke was always that Lloyd held foam parties to clean the club properly. I mean it was clean but that was the joke” Apparently this was a well believed fact, a funny one because many club goers believed it from other clubs as well.

“I remember Ziggies being more of a rock club where you could go see live bands. I can’t remember all of them but I remember Gibraltar when they still had the two ladies singing in the bar. I suppose there are plenty more bands” Keli was involved in a serious car accident in 1998 so her memory is not the same as it used to be. She has my full sympathy because I was in one myself 10 years ago. I can understand when you can’t remember everything. What she did send me was a flyer for the Mother 2000 Mach 3 CD launch. Mother was a massive club mix CD serious at a stage in the country. The same vibe as Bump (remember those CD’s?), and I think Mother was just a little more progressive than you average doef-doef at that stage.

A street view of where Ziggies used to be - photo by Google Street View Maps
A street view of where Ziggies used to be
(photo by Google Street View Maps)

Keli mentioned that Ziggies had two other names as the club grew – Lloyd’s and then Upstairs at Lloyd’s (being on the top floor). He apparently sold the place around 2002. “I worked at the door after my car accident on Wednesdays and Thursdays so tannie Susan had those days off”. She told me that waiters never paid to get in “If you showed up in your waitron uniform, you got in for free as if he knew we didn’t have a lot of money to pay the cover charge as well”. That is something that no restaurant will allow now or back then but that is how it was. “Then the waiters would party till they closed or the sun came up.”

Invite to the opening of  Upstairs at Lloyds
Invite to the opening of Upstairs at Lloyds
(provided by Keli)

All in all, Ziggies had made its youthful mark on a lot of people in Nelspruit and those that are now living far away. The Ziggie reunion I think will bring many people together that has lost touch as Keli ended for me;

“Friendships were made that has lasted a lifetime.”

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.