I could use Julius Malema’s help here in my battle with some undemocratic types Down Under. Boet, if you’re not doing anything particularly controversial this week or putting your foot in someone’s mouth, help me out here, please man. Those Nando’s guys will love you for it — and it’s a great way to tell the people of South Africa that you’re just a cuddly Big Guy who likes chick flicks (as long as they’re not interrupted by Nando’s ads).

I read a post by Sarah Britten on Facebook linking to a global Facebook group called “Hell no, Nandos on Crown Street?” in which “Surry Hills locals” are corralled to oppose a plan by “Nando’s, the global chicken chain” to open up in a suburb which, Sarah tells me, is “a gritty neighbourhood busy gentrifying” and where gun ownership has soared.

Which is not quite how locals present their home ground. The Facebook campaigners don’t mince their words:

Dear Surry Hills local,
Nandos, the global chicken chain, are about to open a franchise at 535 Crown Street. (Cnr Crown and Landsdowne Sts, across the road from Matusuri Restaurant, between Hiscoes Gym and the Commonwealth Bank). They’ll be churning out fast food 7 days a week from 8am to 11pm.
Say HELL NO to global takeaway chains in Surry Hills! The beauty of Crown Street and Surry Hills are the unique restaurants. It’s the reason we live here, and the reason it’s one of Sydney’s favourite dining precincts. Globals aren’t welcome here. Let one in on Crown Street, will others follow? Don’t take that chance. Make yourself heard before the 3rd of June 2009. It’s up to all of us to protect our local restaurants and our street’s character by not letting in the multinational takeaway stores. What you have to do to object before 3rd June:
It’s easy, put it in writing. Email Council Officer Emma Brown – [email protected]
Put this in your email subject line: Regarding DA Notification: D/2009/616, 535 Crown Street SURRY HILLS NSW 2010, then tell her why don’t want Nandos in Surry Hills.
View the Nandos DA application at www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Development
View Nandos Global at www.nandos.com/sections.html#Nandos%20Worldwide
Tell everyone you know to say HELL NO TO NANDOS!
Together we can save Crown Street.

The place sounds really quaint as described there, doesn’t it? So hear what fellow blogger Sarah Britten, who having lived in Sydney has insider knowledge, has to say. A friend of hers, she tells me, lives in Surry Hills and “paid more than $700 000 for his apartment, which is next door to a brothel and down the road from a homeless shelter”. Hmmm. And they don’t want to bring down the tone by having a Nando’s on their doorstep? I think it sounds like it’s just what the place needs. So, my patriotism piqued, I decided to shoot off a friendly email to E Brown at the City of Sydney. This is my email, sent yesterday afternoon:

I’m a South African journalist in Cape Town and I have just read a rather odd missive regarding opposition to a “global giant” — Nando’s Portuguese-style chicken outlet — opening in Surrey Hills.

Just for the record, far from being a giant multinational, Nando’s is a fairly modest South African chicken franchise. There are many branches in the UK these days as well, and they’re franchises, which means locals own each one.

The chicken is really rather good — there’s peri-peri or lemon-herb — and it is unlikely to sully the face of Surry Hills, whatever that is.
It was quite amusing when I lived in England and pointed out to locals that Nando’s was South African. They just refused to believe it … “It’s not — it’s Portuguese!” … “Don’t be silly, it’s British!”, they’d say. You can’t persuade a Brit of anything.

Just by way of putting a fairer slant on misinformation … and maybe give you a dinner party anecdote. For the record, I have no interest in anything to do with Nando’s, other than as a very occasional customer.


Well, I was expecting a sort of “Howdy mate, haha, nice one, I’ll mention that when we have our next meeting. Good on yer, by the way the Boks are bloody useless mate,” kind of response. Not quite. This morning, there was this reply:

Dear Sir/Madam

I refer to your submission about the above application.

Council has received your submission and will carefully consider the issues you have raised in assessing the application. We will also inform you of the final decision on the application.

Council planning officers generally make decisions under the delegated authority of Council about less complex applications and developments with less than four additional storeys. Council, its Planning, Development and Transport Committee or the Central Sydney Planning Committee (CSPC) will determine more significant or contentious applications. The CSPC deals with applications valued over $50 million.

If you provided a daytime phone number, email address or fax number, we will inform you if and when this application is referred to a Committee for consideration. Members of the public are entitled to speak at Committee meetings and have three minutes to present their issues.

The Planning, Development and Transport Committee generally meets in the Council Chamber of Town Hall at 6.00pm every third Monday, the week before Council meetings. The Central Sydney Planning Committee generally meets in the Council Chamber of Town Hall at 7.00pm every third Thursday. You are welcome to attend these meetings. A list of meeting dates is available from the One Stop Shop behind the Town Hall (Level 2, Town Hall House 456 Kent Street) or under the Council link at www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.

If you would like to speak directly to a Council planning officer about this development application, you can contact Emma Brown on ph. 9265 9112, or by email at [email protected]

Yours faithfully
A/Director – City Planning & Regulatory Services

So, my little email is now a formal objection, from the sound of it, so hell, let’s make something more of it shall we? I think that, far from just helping our beloved Nando’s in their quest to improve Surry Hills for local residents, we need to get Malema over there as the new public face of Nando’s to explain to the locals just how having spicy chicken takeaways a couple of times a week will perk up their neighbourhood no end, and probably their brace-yerself-Sheila sex lives too. Oh by the way, any Australians reading this might want to google the words “Julius Malema” — the links it will throw up should amuse them no end.

So, here’s that email address again, should you wish to pitch in your support for Nando’s opening in Surry Hills, wherever that is.

[email protected]

And then, when we’ve won our battle to give Surry Hills a branch of Nando’s, we’ll clobber the bastards at rugby too. Hell yeah.


  • Tony Jackman is a journalist, budding playwright and sometime chef. He's written two plays, An Influence of Ghosts and Blue Train Coming, and back in the day wrote loads of songs. He paints a bit in watercolours when he remembers to, and apart from that he massages words and pushes grammar for a nice little magazine called myweek. Follow me on Twitter


Tony Jackman

Tony Jackman is a journalist, budding playwright and sometime chef. He's written two plays, An Influence of Ghosts and Blue Train Coming, and back in the day wrote loads of songs. He paints a bit in watercolours...

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