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It might not seem like the place for the event, but Braamfontein certainly managed to attract a few large brands who look to do activations and events in the student district.

This was what happened when the National Basketball Association (NBA) and liquor brand Hennessy announced a viewing party along with a court unveiling at Thirteen Bar and Venue.

Balling out on the rooftop

A dark yet warm Joburg evening provides the backdrop to the new basketball court unveiling. On Thirteen’s rooftop, the small space has been morphed into a half court equipped with bleachers and a mural on the surface of the court, by local artist African Ginger. The court itself is plastic, a gym like mat which was opted for as it is durable and easy to put together. African Ginger then applied his unique form of expression to the surface.

Artist African Ginger

Artist African Ginger provided his talents in designing the new rooftop basketball court in Braamfontein.


”We wanted something friendly and durable. The entire process with designing the court started in December last year if we take into consideration the designs for the Ernest Oppenheimer court. However, the official design process for this Hennessy Braam Court started in July this year. There was a bit of a back and forth in terms of look and feel, but we ended up with something that really spoke to the Braam culture.

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“I am a skateboarder, but I enjoy basketball in terms of the game, and I love what it’s done for the culture and how much of an impact it’s had.”

He found the process to be humbling and, “beautiful. I am honoured to have worked with the entire Hennessy team again. I am taking a bit of an end of year break, some time off, but will plan my year early next year to see what new projects are on the horizon. At this point I just want to relax a bit.”

Rooftop court in Braam

Organisers are hoping the new rooftop basketball court in Braamfontein will be a slam dunk for fans of the sport.

A few professional basketball players are bought out by the host, broadcaster Siyabonga Ngwekazi, better known as Scoop Makhathini and they show off their hops with a few fancy alley-oops and precision shooting.

Rapper Stogie T

Rapper Stogie T provided some entertainment on the evening of the rooftop court unveiling.


After this small exhibition, rapper Stogie T takes to center court and performs a few of his songs, which have the crowd swaying and bopping along to his intricate rhyme schemes. The court is then opened to the lucky few who were invited and everyone either gets to grips with the sport of basketball or shows off their dexterity at shooting three pointers and jump shots.

One-on-one with Rosemary Zimu

After a few wildly embarrassing air balls-shooting a shot and not hitting anything at all-I feel the old arm warm up and a few balls drop through the hoop.

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A woman with short hair, dressed in black leather shorts, a black tank top and even blacker shades approaches me and says, “nice jump shot, want to play one-on-one?”

I’m thinking to myself why not and so we set up to play a short game of first to three buckets, the aim is never to sweat. Being a gentleman, I let her attack the hoop first with me playing defense. I make the detrimental mistake of taking her lightly. Her dark frames perched on her nose, she takes two jab steps to the right, dribbles the ball in that direction, spins around and hits a jump shot in my face.

With her wrist still raised to the air as the ball swishes through the basket perfectly she announces, “that’s one.”

I play it off as a fluke as we line up for the next play. The dark hooper throws up a wayward shot which felt wrong as soon as the ball left her hand. She craftily beats me to the rebound and extends her elbows with both hands on the ball as she catches it.  I try swipe for it, and she calmly slashes her right elbow through my jaw which true fans of basketball will know is a very 90’s era move to keep opponents away from stealing the ball. Rubbing my jaw gingerly she quips, “don’t get too close now, get your face rearranged.”

At this point a few of the other event goers clear the court to give us a little room and so now all eyes are on me getting dusted by someone who stands at about five feet.

Regardless I manage to wrangle a win against the talented court hustler who I eventually realise is actor Rosemary Zimu of Savage Beauty and Shadow fame when her shades come off as we toast to a good game.

“I actually used to coach basketball,” she says as we both try catch our breath.

“I started playing in grade eight, but I fell in love with the sport when I was in grade seven which was 2008. That’s when I started following the sport and I was a Bulls baby, all the people I loved were part of the Bulls. I got honours for basketball in high school then I played varsity basketball, I played for the Jozi Nuggets and the Falcons. I started coaching in 2014. I went back to my high school St. Peter’s College, and I had to leave when I started booking roles.”

She says coaching is something she hopes to get back to, “even if it’s not for a whole season but we’ll see.”

She played both point guard and shooting guard.

“I enjoyed shooting guard because I could kind of hide and sneak in. I fractured my nose in 2013, dislocated my finger and so that’s when I slowed down and went into coaching.”

She loves the adrenaline rush she gets from the sport and never understood why coaches are always prancing about on the sideline until she started coaching.

“I also played soccer and Netball, but soccer is restricting as I can’t use my hands and Netball as soon as I catch the ball, I cannot move so basketball is just a dope sport as I can run and bounce the ball.”

Rosemary has just wrapped shooting the next season of Savage Beauty which will surface next year, and the raspy voiced actor is currently busy shooting the Mzansi Magic show My Brother’s Keeper which airs on Monday to Friday and 7:30pm.

A lavish chill session

As the libations take hold, people kick back and play NBA 2K on the consoles laid out in the lavish lounge area on the floor below the rooftop court. Food makes the rounds and people take selfies in front of the miniature locker room social media corner with LA Lakers and Orlando Magic jersey’s hanging in them. Everyone is now gearing up for the game between those two teams that is to be shown on the large screen at the center of this homely room.

Just to the right of the entry point to this room, another screen is set up with people aggressively bouncing balls against this screen which has a circular target with numbers on it. A game that people really took to and even saw singer Moonchild Sanelly kick off her leather boots and really go at it.

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