Ster-Kinekor is back better

Ster-Kinekor Theatres chief marketing officer Lynne Wylie and Ster-Kinekor Namibia manager Juan Cronje (centre) with staff at the Grove Mall relaunch on Friday. Photo: Martha Mukaiwa

Ster-Kinekor is back after a brief hiatus, and officially opened its doors during a relaunch at Grove Mall on Friday.

Boasting an upgraded concession and reception area, cashless payments and an improved cinema experience, Ster-Kinekor marked its reopening with a screening of the ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ (2023).

In line with the film’s main characters, Legends of Cocktails elevated the star-studded atmosphere with mocktails named Songbirds, Blue Snow and Gray Baird.

“We’re very happy to have the cinemas open again, and we are committed to providing excellent service,” says Ster-Kinekor Namibia’s new manager, Juan Cronje.

“Movies that I know people are looking forward to are Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Hunger Games’. Both cinemas are officially open and everyone is welcome.”

Also pouring into Grove Mall’s cinema were ardent fans catching the global premiere of ‘Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé’.

Among them was Touch FM radio personality Rodelio Lewis, who has since seen the movie twice and weighed in on the revamp and the highly anticipated film.

“Sound wise there is a big difference. I remember while watching ‘Renaissance’, I had a very three-dimensional sound experience,” he said.

“There were moments where the audience in the movie would scream, and I would think the audience in the cinema was screaming along with me, but it was just the movie. I think this is really amazing sound wise.”

Regarding ‘Renaissance’ itself, Lewis is effusive.

“‘Renaissance’ is for anyone who is hungry to see what the process looks like for a creative that many say is one of the greatest artists of this time,” says Lewis.

“So if you want to understand the mind of this individual, if you love good music, or if you’re queer and you wanna see yourself represented in one of the most beautiful ways, go.”

Lewis also praises Ster-Kinekor’s move to digital payments.

“You can book online and that’s a really nice experience, because I don’t like standing in queues. The fact that I can pre-book my tickets, snacks and drinks and then I can just show up with a QR code to collect everything really makes me feel like we’re stepping into the right era of the cinema world.”

In a queue for the ‘Hunger Games’ at Maerua Mall on Monday night, some patrons complained about the move to cashless payments and were displeased that one needs to memorise their snack orders from the concession area to pay on the other side of the cinema hall if not pre-booking everything online.

In these instances, tellers who seemed to struggle with the switch points could have been more polite and professional.

But we’ll chalk this sub-par service to first week teething problems and the learning curve inherent in a change in technology, at least for the moment.

As for my experience of ‘Hunger Games’ at Maerua Mall, Lewis has it right.

Ster-Kinekor’s sound and picture quality is fantastic, and, with a little more communication about cashless payments and some attention to service provision, the cinemas will once again be an efficient and epic night out.

– martha@namibian.com.na; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com

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