Gauteng is the product of a 19th and 20th century ‘migrant labour’ system. The mineral revolution required cheap, controlled labour for the white-owned farms, mines and later factories. Male migrants were not allowed to live permanently in ‘white’ areas and so hostels played an important role in this system. Many hundreds of thousands of African men lived in single-sex hostels near their places of work. The hostels – reserved for men only until quite recently – were crowded with prisonlike dormitories where every aspect of life was controlled by colonial and apartheid authorities. Hostels were ‘tribal’ spaces, as the authorities insisted on them being structured according to ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.
To this day, many hostels are still closely associated with Zulu culture. In the early 1990s they were no-go Inkatha Freedom Party strongholds and played a major role in the upheavals of the time. They are still perceived by many South Africans to be inaccessible and unsafe. While these hostels are now home to families, Zulu cultural practices still dominate including the continued role of Zulu Royal families in overseeing the day-to-day management of the hostel. These spaces remain off bounds for visitors, but in Tembisa (a stone’s throw away from the OR Tambo International Airport) one hostel is slowly opening up to tourists.
Ehlanzeni hostel, host Neo Ramothata explains, is one of the largest hostels in Tembisa. It was built in the middle half of the previous century as a panopticon – an institutional building where the design allows all dwellers of the hostel to be observed by watchmen (and police) from a single advantage point. The watchmen may be long gone, but the hostel still has an overseer in the form of an Induna’nkhulu. The ‘Induna’ reside in what used to be a Police Office, conveniently located at the entrance to the hostel.
According to Ramothata it is unclear exactly how many families reside at Ehlanzeni. Life in the hostel is hard and many residents are unemployed. Makeshift kraals are home to roaming goats. One middle-aged man we meet shows us into his room. Against the walls hang traditional adornments which he makes from cured animal hide. He pulls up the mattress to reveal that he sleeps on layer upon layer of animal hides not yet fully cured. He shows us a leopard skin adornment and assures us it is fake. Only members of the royal family can wear Ingwe (leopard skin).
While the poverty and harshness of the environment is sobering, hostels like Ehlanzeni keep Zulu cultural traditions alive, especially for music. A Jukebox highlights the importance of Maskanda (in a Wikipedia entry referred to as the “the music of the man who’s got the Zulu blues”). The trek from rural KwaZulu-Natal to the Rand happened on a massive scale. Maskanda developed as an outlet for expressing the sense of exile and loss that these men (and later women) experienced. Maskandi is played on cheap, often homemade, instruments to produce the distinctive polyphonic sound.
Maskandi, traditional dancing and other events take place in a large open space in the centre of the hostel. Here sheep and cattle are also slaughtered and meat grilled on open fires. On our way out, we are taken into the original beer hall. Although the consumption of alcohol by black men was originally prohibited, by the middle of the 20th century, beer halls were introduced albeit strictly controlled. During the 1967 riots, many were targeted by the youth and burnt down as symbols of apartheid control.
As we leave, Ramothata, has to thank every Induna for allowing visitors to Ehlanzeni. These pleasantries take a while to complete but Ramothata assures us the community is pleased by their first visitors.
Neo Ramothata is the winner of the GeePee Township Experience Challenge which saw eighteen new experiences from across nearly fifteen townships in Gauteng compete for best new tourism experience. The competition is an initiative of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development in association with tourism consultancy Place Matters.
Ramothata is hosted at WTM Africa 2017 courtesy of Place Matters and Better Tourism Africa.
A community-based camp located in remote Namibia, two backpackers and a mountain bike tour in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Area are among the organisations selected as finalists for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards (sponsored by Wesgro and organised by Better Tourism Africa). But who will take the top spots?
With seven categories as well as the much-coveted ‘Overall Winner’ to be won, the competition has stepped up a notch for the finalists revealed today.
Following an intense debate on the Judging Day, held in Johannesburg on 7 April, the panel of 14 expert judges from across the industry shortlisted 13 organisations from across Africa – including Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique. The finalists are:
- All Out Africa @alloutafrica
- Blood Lions @Blood_Lions
- Coffee Shack Backpackers @CoffeeShackBP
- Wilderness Safaris Damaraland Camp @WeAreWilderness
- Ilha Blue Island Safaris @ilhablue.islandsafaris
- Isibindi Africa Lodges @IsibindiAfrica
- Maboneng Township Arts Experience @MabonengArts
- MTN Bushfire @bushfirefest
- Nedbank Tour de Tuli @WeAreWilderness
- Serena Hotels @serenahotels
- The Backpack @thebackpackcpt
- Uthando @UthandoSouthAfr
- Wildlife ACT @wildlifeact
The supporters of the African Responsible Tourism Awards are:
- Best Accommodation for Social Inclusion – supported by Better Tourism Africa @RespTourismSA
- Best for Engaging People & Culture – sponsored by Transfrontier Parks Destinations @TFPD_SA
- Best Partnership for Poverty Reduction – supported by Africa! Ignite @AfricaIgnite
- Best Responsible Tourism Campaign – supported by Cape Town Pass and Cellar in the City @CapeTownPass
- Best for Habitat & Species Conservation – supported by CapeNature @CapeNature1
- Best Responsible Event – supported by Bulk SMS @BulkSMS
- Best Tour Operator for Impact in Urban Areas – supported by Marine Dynamics @MarineDynamics
- Overall Winner – supported by Wesgro @Wesgro
The 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards winners will be announced during WTM Africa at an awards ceremony to be held on Thursday 20 April 2017 at 16.30 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. A celebratory function will follow the ceremony. Winners will be available on the WTM Responsible Tourism Stand (W54) from 10.30 – 11.30 on Friday 21 April 2017 for media interviews.
Commenting on the finalists, Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa, said: “This year’s finalists are worthy change makers who bravely use tourism to create positive change for Africa’s people and environments. From a music festival in an unlikely destination, a hard-hitting documentary and cultural tours that tells the stories of the residents of a beach town – the shortlist has a lot to say about where responsible tourism on the continent is, and where it is going next.”
Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judging Panel and WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor, reflected on the decisions made on the Judging Day: “There were many excellent businesses and organisations on the shortlist for the Awards and much debate amongst the judges about each of the categories. It is an achievement to be on the long listed and to be a finalist, these are very prestigious and competitive awards. We have inspiring Gold and Silver winners again this year, large and small, reflecting the range of Responsible Tourism practice in Africa. I hope you will be as inspired as the judges were, by the range and quality of the shortlist and by the finalists .”
Tim Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Wesgro, is looking forward to the ceremony: “We would like to congratulate all those selected by the Judges as finalists for the African Responsible Tourism Awards this year. These forward thinking and innovative organisations are true examples of how we can take the tourism industry to new heights in a sustainable and attractive manner. We look forward to the awards ceremony on 20 April at WTM Africa, where we will celebrate the winners in person.”
The African Responsible Tourism Awards are part of the responsible tourism programme at WTM Africa. The responsible tourism programme includes three panel discussions on market access for small businesses, responsible tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the cultures and heritages of Africa, as well as a social media challenge for digital influencers, the media and travel trade. The WTM Responsible Tourism Stand will host past winners of the World and African Responsible Tourism Awards.
Official hashtag: #ARTA17
Official twitter handle: @RTAwardsAfrica
For more information, high res logos or interviews contact:
Better Tourism Africa
Tel: +27 833892523
Tel: + 27 21 487 4800
For the third year running, Wesgro – Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency – is the main sponsor for the African Responsible Tourism Awards. Winners of the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards, a part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards, will be announced in Cape Town at the CTICC during Africa Travel Week 2017.
The African Responsible Tourism Awards are organised by Better Tourism Africa, and are hosted by World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa). The African regional awards are a part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards family, the leading global awards recognising achievement and innovation in responsible tourism. In 2016 the world awards founded by Responsible Travel celebrated 13 years at WTM London. Several category winners in the 2016 African round came out tops in the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards.
Wesgro Chief Marketing Officer, Judy Lain congratulated Bushmans Kloof for winning silver for the Best Accommodation for Responsible Employment category at the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards,
“Grootbos, Hotel Verde, Bushmans Kloof, Gansbaai, Marine Dynamics and the V&A Waterfront are amongst the tourism businesses from the Western Cape that have over the years received top responsible tourism awards. We recognise that these awards are the result of hard work and an unwavering commitment to develop tourism in a sustainable manner. As the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, it is imperative that responsible tourism is a guiding principle in all we do. To this end we are pleased to announce that Wesgro will be the headline sponsor of the 2017 Africa Responsible Tourism Awards”.
The 2015 and 2016 African Responsible Tourism Awards generated significant participation across Africa. Heidi van der Watt of Better Tourism Africa, the organiser and founder of the African Responsible Tourism Awards comments:
“Watching the quality of entries for the African Responsible Tourism Awards strengthening year on year is truly gratifying. Wesgro has supported the awards since the inaugural year in 2015, helping to discover and celebrate African tourism businesses that follow the beat of a different drum. It is fitting that they continue this partnership during the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. We value their commitment to celebrating businesses that use to tourism as a force for good.”
As part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards family, the judging process for the African Responsible Tourism Awards is chaired by Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism and Chair of the main World Responsible Tourism Awards judging panel since its inception.
Entries for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards closed in January, and the longlist will be announced on 1 March 2017.
Note to editors
Official hashtag: #ARTA17
Official twitter handle: @RTAwardsAfrica
For media enquiries or information contact:
Better Tourism Africa
Tel: +27 21 487 8600
The Western Cape is a region of unlimited potential, and this translates into unlimited opportunity. Whether you’re interested in travel, business or export, Cape Town and the Western Cape has something for you. Let Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, help you uncover the opportunities.
About Better Tourism Africa
Better Tourism Africa (previously the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – South Africa), a non-profit organisation established in 2006, works alongside government, the private sector and communities in Africa to implement the objectives of Responsible Tourism as described in the Cape Town Declaration. We believe tourism should be harnessed to create better places for people to live and to visit. Our work includes advocacy, training and capacity-building, research and technical advisory services.
About Responsible Travel
Responsible Travel is the world’s leading market place for small and tailor-made tour operators, all screened for their commitment to responsible tourism. Responsible Travel connects these operators with people looking for real & authentic holidays. Starting with just 2 tour operators in 2001 we’ve become the leading place to find tours from over 400 small & specialist tour companies in 197 countries. As tourism grows globally the opportunity for authentic experiences diminishes, and the impacts of tourism on places & local people (not always positive) grows. We’ve found the secret to authentic travel is treating local people & places responsibly.
In addition Responsible Travel:
- campaigns for positive change in the travel and tourism industry.
- is publishing an expanding collection of open, honest travel guides
CEO Justin Francis has been included in Courvoisiers The Future 500, Thames and Hudsons 60 Innovators Shaping Our Creative Future and taken his place on the Advisory Board of The International Centre for Responsible Tourism.
The company is based in Brighton’s North Laine district, England.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is a leading global player in the world of exhibitions and part of RELX Group, one of South Africa’s largest and most successful business events companies. Reed Exhibitions brings over 50 years of experience in developing, marketing, selling and organising exhibitions, events, conferences and meetings.
About World Travel Market
World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises of six leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The six events are WTM London; Arabian Travel Market (ATM); World Travel Market Latin America; World Travel Market Africa; WTM Connect Asia and International Golf Travel Market (IGTM).
About Africa Travel Week
Africa Travel Week comprises three co-located shows – WTM Africa, ibtm africa and ILTM Africa – encompassing Africa’s inbound and outbound markets for general leisure travel, luxury tourism, and the MICE/business travel sector under RTE’s established portfolios of WTM (World Travel Market), ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) and IBTM (Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings). The dates for Africa Travel Week (#africatravelweek) 2017 are 19 – 23 April 2017
About World Travel Market Africa
World Travel Market Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. The dates for the next event are 19-21 April 2017.
Tourism organisations that are interested in entering the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards (ARTA) but have not yet had a chance to complete their application now has a second chance – the closing date for applications has been extended to Friday, 20 January.
This year, ARTA aims to celebrate tourism organisations doing good work in seven categories.
Best accommodation for social inclusion
This category is awarded to accommodation providers that create places to stay and work at which are supportive, fair and empowering.
Best for engaging people & culture
This category seeks to shine a light on the best examples of holidays which involve and celebrate local people, traditions and ways of life.
Best for habitat and species conservation
This category is awarded to a tourism business or initiative that had measurable success in preserving and managing habitat and species.
Best partnership for poverty reduction
The emphasis in this category is on the partnerships between tourism businesses that use travel experiences to achieve a measurable reduction in poverty among a local community, and include local and marginalised people.
Best responsible event
This category is for an event that is designed, organised and managed in a way that minimises potential negative impacts and leaves a beneficial legacy for the host community and all involved.
Best responsible tourism campaign
This category is for a campaign from a tourism business or organisation which has successfully championed responsible tourism. This could be a marketing campaign or an advocacy campaign.
Best tour operator for impact in urban areas
This category is for a tourism business with an innovative and successful approach to responsible tourism within cities or urban settlements, using tourism for positive change within cities or urban settlements.
The Awards ceremony
The winners of the 2017 awards will be announced at a ceremony on 20 April at the World Travel Market Africa held in Cape Town. Winners of the African awards are automatically entered into the World Responsible Tourism Awards.
About WTM Africa
WTM Africa is a vibrant, culturally diverse, must attend business-to-business travel and tourism event, with a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to African and International travel professionals.
Mirrored on flagship events WTM in London and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai – WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors and in 2016 saw a 23% increase in visitors compared to 2015. The only inbound and outbound show of its kind on the African continent, WTM Africa provides a platform to launch new products, increase brand exposure, debate industry issues, and gather market intelligence; to generate new sales leads, strengthen existing relationships and most importantly, close new business.