Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre: The paradise shell blanketing earth’s living hell

Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre

Blantyre is now graced by an opulent giant structure, which towers the core of Malawi’s commercial city. Atop these tonnes of brick and mortar, the then popular Chayamba Building,  Development House,  Delemere are literally dwarfed. The financial-hub, Victoria Avenue looks like a strip when one stands there.

The splendour of the structure is not only on the outside, inside is just another out of this world ambiance mixed with captivating designs, spectacular artworks on walls and not to mention the comfortable furniture. Many are tempted to confirm that in there, is the reason why the name luxury exists, nothing but a complete paradise seasoned, with aromas that one’s nose is continuously trying to sieve.

The newly built Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre r
Yusuf Shiraz Jnr and his wife

However, this week some groups of employees recently dismissed at varied intervals of the day approached Nyasa Times to reveal the under carpet on-goings about this structure housing Amaryllis Hotel.

The hotel is just months old since its opening for service. It also accommodates Food Lovers Market, a popular South African supermarket operated within a franchised grocery stores and convenience stores with other shops in Lilongwe and most of Southern Africa.

As per training, staff in the hospitality sector smile to customers as a way of making them comfortable and for them to feel at home.

But at Amaryllis Hotel, behind those glittering teeth of smiles are individuals suffering from threats, disrespectful outbursts, abuse and high uncertainty of job security.

In sharp contrast, the hotel’s general manager Yusuf Shiraz Jr. has sternly denied existence of workers’ rights violations.

Giving their recount about working for Amaryllis Hotel a group of current and former employees, which requested for confidentiality in fear of their security and jobs, says employees are fired at the hotel on a daily basis.

Some of their crimes are trying to get some fresh air after working in sweltering heat, going to the toilet during working hours, having lunch or supper within the hotel structure, slight delays when reporting for duties, using the elevator when the bosses are in, others deemed as rude when they try to elaborate issues to bosses.

Highlights  on the conflicts was attributed to communication breakdown and language differences.

“With the queues on our roads, some of us missed reporting to work by just 4 minutes and we have been axed. Their view is that when the bosses speak and we answer back we are rude but there are many times when their directives or decisions are wrong. When we try to advise them accordingly we are fired,” they unanimously said.

What is left for the remnants is to only agonise on when and how their journey will end at Amaryllis Hotel, which to most is an unbearable psychological torture.

They further laid bare that the hotel has international staff in positions that many Malawians are qualified for, like chefs and maintenance services.

“There is a chef called Zahir and a service maintenance individual called Abdul, we have doubts if these people have work permits. Through you Nyasa Times, we would like the Department Immigration and Citizenship Services to conduct detailed investigations not only on Amaryllis but the hotel industry as a whole. The reason is, many international individuals are taking away jobs from Malawians yet several of the 18 million of us are very qualified for those posts,” said the group.

They then appealed to the Government to safeguard workers’ rights and the Malawi labour market as there is continued exploitation since some employers either opt for cheap labour or non-qualified people, a development that compromises quality services and Malawi’s national image.

The country has several rogue employers who off-load employees, taking advantage of the many people who are desperate to earn a living

Said the group, “There are a lot of issues, those people of colour are given more wages and benefits for the same jobs we do. But it is only us (Malawians) who always get fired. Much as we have requested for confidentiality to you (Nyasa Times) because of possible reprisals, we have  initiated the process of speaking out for employees especially those working for non-indigenous Malawians let us not suffer in silence any longer.”

Amaryllis Hotel is owned by Yusuf Shiraz. The hotel’s hierarchy has Yusuf Shiraz Jr. as General Manager, his wife managing operations of Food Lovers market and his mother as an influential management advisor.

Much as the group is contemplating of taking the issue of unfair dismissal to the Industrial Relations Court, they are appealing to the Malawi Government to conduct labour inspections to see to it that working conditions for workers in the country are humane.

In a very brief interview when contacted, the young Shiraz denied the narratives from the former employees saying they were only a frustrated after their exit from the magnificent hotel.

“We look for productivity and nothing else,” he said cutting the interview short.

Newly appointed Minister of Labour, Skills and Innovation Honourable Lilian Patel assured workers in Malawi that their rights are there to be protected at all times but asked for more time to specifically address the Amaryllis Hotel issue.

As it stands, more people will continue to be hired and fired en masse within the current imposing but slowly tainting paradise shell in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre.

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Cut the crap
Guest
Cut the crap

If you Do not like your employers just leave, simple. Why make it racial, this is the 21st Century you cant blame every problem on race. If anything thank him for actually accomplishing to build a decent hotel. Some people may have bad habits and don’t we all, but don’t hate on a mans success.

Jaffali Sambo
Guest
Jaffali Sambo

My humble request to my fellow Malawians, please stop being jealousy for nothing. I have read the story and followed all comments but all I see is envy and lies. I have worked with the owners of the Hotel for ages but none of the above allegations are true. Even the ones who claim to have worked at the Hotel a few weeks ago do not know anything as they claim. These are frustrated ex-employees who were fired for theft.

SAUNDERS
Guest
SAUNDERS

Shiraz Yusuf is very arrogant and rude, those who have worked with him at Ernest & Young know him, he smokes weed, his behaviour is influenced by drugs. He has the money and Money can buy anything even the Law enforcers, thats why he can do anything and when his peace is threatened he uses his money to bribe those in Authority. I doubt if Lilian Patel can handle Shiraz she is weak and lame, Shiraz needs Mad people like Kapito of Consumers Rights and the person in the personality of Martha Chizuma the Ombudsman who is also a member… Read more »

Santa Banta
Guest
Santa Banta

You are Right and True Even MRA should question the income of Shiraz Yusuf from were did he got that kind of Money to Build this Hotel it is Not fRom Right sources it is fRom Tax Frauds and Money Laundring

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

The is a crook at one time he was involved in selling drugs. If the government can go deeper they will find the source of his capital.

S smith
Guest
S smith

If you want to know he obtained loan from nbm

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

That was just a cover up. He is a smart crook

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

Yes that’s correct he treats Malawians like shitt just because he has money and is able to bribe government officials when he is in trouble.

youna
Guest
youna

He is a big time crook and ozunza antchito nzake alinso ndi hotel just after crossroads hotel. vuto lake ma biggie oti agwire ntchito pa za makhalidwe ao ozunza a Malawi amakatapakonso komweko.

S smith
Guest
S smith

It’s very simple if you feel that the mwenyes are not treating employees well do not work for them. The mwenyes are not forcing you to work for them . Go and work with your fellow indigenous Malawians. I employ 8 workers and out of 8 workers 6 have been caught stealing on more than one occasion. I haven’t fired them because I’m fearing that if I fire them and get replacement workers they might be worse and steal more than the ones I have at the moment. I have accepted that this is how it is and tried to… Read more »

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

Foseki
What we are saying is that this is our Country. Thise Amwenye should not take advantage that we have have allowed them to do business here.
If we rise up we will do as IDi Amini did in Uganda.

Kunsaira Binton
Guest
Kunsaira Binton

They steal because you pay them peanuts 🥜. Try to improve your salary and you will see the change. Please don’t be greedy.

S smith
Guest
S smith

I pay one worker twice what I pay the other both of them were caught stealing.

Mohd irffan Razzak
Guest
Mohd irffan Razzak

The Story is True 100% As we Malawian should Not be working for these Asian People who mistreat there Employees if Malawian do Not work they can NOT run opreations and Employees of the Hotel should form a UNION to fight against the same ans Report Issue of several nature to gkvt about the Hotel contaminated food which might be sold to the public or Restaurants Super Market Food which is can be expiry Food If malawians STOP going to the Hotel they will Have NO business and you will see the Hotel is Deserted Employees shiuld be also recording… Read more »

achalume
Guest
achalume

too bad

Ghost
Guest
Ghost

Our country is so fucked up. I can’t blame these foreigners and asians to be precise for ill treating indigenous malawians because this is what everybody else would do when they have money and power, this kinda shit happens everywhere. The chief reason that these disgruntled ex employees aim to achieve at the end of the day is to tarnish the image of the owners with the hope that either the government closes down the business or customers seize to patronize the facility which in any case makes no sense and can not happen at all.

China
Guest
China

You are a coon and an imbecile

Mohd irffan Razzak
Guest
Mohd irffan Razzak

It can Happend Close Down the Business and Stop Patronize these kind of Employers

Emmanuel Mpondamwala
Guest
Emmanuel Mpondamwala

Mr Editor; I have realized that the writer of the article has used a word which I feel he doesn’t know what it means the word in question is PEOPLE of COLOUR he has used it to mean non Africans or foreigners yet the people he is talking about are Malawians of Indian Pakistan origins.
The term “person of colour” is today primarily used in the United States to describe any person who is not considered white, including in various points in US history, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and others. The term emphasizes common experiences of systemic racism.

Sikusinja
Guest
Sikusinja

Just open your own hotels. Malawians instead of coming together to build business empires, you find a family with two little kids building a huge mansion to live in at a cost of a commercial. There are very few indians who build huge mansions, and when they do, you can find three or four brothers sharing the same space. Thats why Malawians build aliyense townhouses with 4 or 5 units whereas Indians will put money together and build something with 40 to 50 units. Our selfishness will never help. We don’t challenge these Indians and we prefer less risky businesses.

answer
Guest
answer

agree

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

No wonder Amini Chased the Amwenye in Uganda.

S smith
Guest
S smith

and the Ugandans want the Asians back and the Zimbabwe wants the white farmers back but these guys have moved on they do not want to return

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

No one wants you in Uganda
Utonama

Word
Guest
Word

Owners of this hotel with that much experience should know better.

Just hire a good Human Resource I’m sure you have one but get a better one (Indigenous Malawian) and close the chapter.

A lot of Asian owned companies that don’t have these issues come up have good Human Resource like RK, Nuline Textiles , Victoria Hotel , Sheets & Metals Industry , OG Plastic , Siku Transport etc the list goes on .

You need a listening and caring Human Resource manager to do the job as he will handle things better.