The NOSTALGIC JUKEBOX, seen in
movies, homes and pubs.
stirs the memories and lyrics touches one’s emotions.
music puts people at a time, at a place, at a moment.
AROUND THE CLOCK” - Bill Haley
of the oldest, if the oldest, existing amusement machine firms in South
Africa, Mohan’s Mechanical Machines was founded in 1934
by Mr. MohanlalBagwandeen.
Mr. MohanlalBagwandeen was an innovator of note, his policy was to do and create what others said
can’t be done. He continuously
challenged himself thus allowing the rapid growth of the business. He loved reading Popular Mechanics and
other innovation magazines and books.
the early sixties he had one of the largest amusement and vending machine enterprises in South
Africa. The operations involved the manufacture, sale, servicing
and distribution of his own products and imported lines.
the 1965 he passed on but his five young sons continued with his legacy. Under the
Group Areas Act they were given notice to move from their central Durban
(Umgeni Road) home and adjacent workshop and office premises when their
father passed away. The Group Areas
Act created it’s own
mega challenges, the eldest of the family, VJ Mohan aged 22, had to relocate
a very large business with a family consisting of his wife and newly born
son, his Mum and his four young brothers and two young sisters. A mammoth task for a young man of
22. The government had allocated for
them land in an “indian” area which was 30 km
from Durban. This distance was
unacceptable for the servicing and maintenance of the amusement machines
which were largely situated in Durban central. A family decision was made to scale down
the business and purchase a home in the Overport
area which was the closest “Indian” suburb in Durban. It was far smaller than the huge premises
in Umgeni Road which consisted of two floors of 400m2 each. The Group Areas Act hindered the growth
of the business and created a whole new set of challenges for the family.
dealing with the loss of their Father and a scaled down business they
proceeded with grit and determination to continue with their Father’s
legacy. Slowly but surely they
continued to expand their business and even realised one of their Father's
dream which was to create a Fun Park for the “non-white” community similar
to the one on the Durban beachfront which was exclusively reserved for
started the dream by purchasing two traveling Fun Fairs. They
combined the two to create Happy Land Fun
Fair. This well appointed fun fair
included the only traveling Wall Of Death at that time in SA. The played throughout SA for the
“non-white” community. Areas such as
Laudium, Rhylands, Isipingo,
Newcastle, Ladysmith, Pietermaritzburg.
order to be economically viable, a white partner was brought in to play at
the agricultural shows throughout SA.
When they played in the Orange Free State my Dad and his brothers
could only be there during the day but had to leave as that province did
not allow Indians to stay a night.
20 Grantham Place,
Umgeni Road, Durban
“Tennessee Waltz – Patti Page”
SA JUKEBOX MARKET
were popular throughout the 40’s, 50’s 60’s and 70’s.. We had jukeboxes in popular
Durban spots like Goodwill Lounge and Victory Lounge, Daintees
and Model Dairy Restaurant on the Marine Parade and in various pubs,
tearooms and café’s.
the late 70’s and early 80’s a significant decrease in income from these
establishments. This trend continued
into the late 80’s.
to operate jukeboxes profitably one needed to concentrate on a dedicated
VJ Mohan innovated the idea of hiring out
jukeboxes for parties he had no idea what an impact this concept was to
make on the SA jukebox market.
hiring out jukeboxes to parties various people of different ages got a
chance to experience a jukebox is and what it was about.
introduced the first CD jukeboxes to the SA market and immediately used
them for party hiring. We hired out both Vinyl and
parties the older generation became reflective of their past memories of
jukeboxes in particular places. The youngsters were totally in awe
about “this machine”, some youngsters in the early 90’s had not seen a
vinyl or 7 single record (the CD generation).
the early years of party hiring the most important segment was the 19 to 40
age group. Here we had people who were in various sectors
of the SA economy. The people in the entertainment and
advertisement industry played an important role in spear heading jukeboxes
back into the mainstream.
began to pop up in adverts (Fanta, Beechies), the
radio stations started naming there shows after jukeboxes ( 5FM Alex Jay –
Jay’s Jukebox, Lotus FM – Jukebox Selection, East Coast Radio – Solid Gold
Lane and Winston gave away jukeboxes as prizes.
gave away a Wurlitzer 1015 jukebox (valued at R 125,000) as a prize in a national
competition in conjunction with Club Music Direct. This competition ran for
almost a year with entry forms in national newspapers, magazines, etc.
name, logo and contact details was included in the
entry forms and a Solid Gold Jukebox CD was released with our company
details on the cover.
People became aware that they can purchase
jukeboxes for their restaurants, pubs and homes.
the advent of Bhangra and remixed Indian music a
new market needed to be tapped. We once again innovated the idea of a jukebox for indian
weddings, birthdays, etc. To gain a deeper penetration
into this emerging market we gave away two 60 CD player jukeboxes as prizes
in the Lotus FM North and South Song of the Year competition. As a trade
deal with Lotus FM ensured that our party hiring radio advert ran daily.
the new millennium digital jukeboxes are in all types of establishments,
amusement arcades, pubs, pool rooms and restaurants.
can also hire one for ANY type of party with all TYPES of music, club,
dance, rave, reggae, R&B, 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, 50’s,Rock ‘n Roll, Kwaito, , SA House, Zulu, Afrikaans and Bhangra.
JUKEBOX COMPANY is proud to know that we have played a significant role in
the resurgence of jukeboxes in the SA market and at the same time created
and innovated jukeboxes which are unique in the
are currently on the third generation and therefore feel that we have the
expertise and experience gained over the years in the SA amusement market,
especially in the jukebox manufacture and distribution.
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