Future is in hosting events

2016-03-23 06:00
Unathi Sonwabile Henama teaches tourism at the Tshwane University of Technology, and writes in his personal capacity. Photo: supplied

Unathi Sonwabile Henama teaches tourism at the Tshwane University of Technology, and writes in his personal capacity. Photo: supplied

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EVENTS are the lifeblood of the Free State province’s future in tourism.

Last year, on 22 November, Mangaung hosted the South African Sports Awards.

This was a great event that was all about the sports stars that attended this glamorous event in the City of Roses.

The event was broadcast live on SABC1, which ensured that a national viewership was blessed with images from Mangaung.

I am hopeful that the leadership of the Free State would secure the rights to host the 2016 South African Sports Awards again in Mangaung.

This would be fitting, as Mangaung was able to host the event very well.

Besides, the 2015 Sportsman of the Year, Wayde van Niekerk, studies at the University of the Free State (UFS) and he is still excelling in his sport career.

Bloemfontein is a historical


It was the birthplace of the National Party, the party that institutionalised apartheid in South Africa, as J.B.M. Hertzog hosted the inaugural meeting in 1914 to form the National Party.

The ANC, the party that would bring South Africa to liberation and ended the more than 300 years of colonialism, as well as apartheid, was also established in 1912 in Bloemfontein.

To be inscribed in the historical fabric of Bloemfontein: The Congress of the People (Cope) held its elective congress in Bloem­fontein.

The UDM recently held its national congress in Mangaung; a breakaway from the ANC.

To be further reflected in the rich fabric of Mangaung: The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) held their national people’s assembly in Bloemfontein in 2014.

All these events prove that the City of Roses has the ability to host major events, even though the majority reflected here are political in nature.

The Centenary Celebrations of the ANC in 2012 in Bloemfontein were the largest so far, as more than 46 heads of state from Africa attended.

Their presence was important because many of the ANC members were housed in several African countries during apartheid.

It was therefore fitting that the 46 heads of state attended to celebrate the oldest liberation movement on the African continent, whose history was shaped and carved by the entire African continent Z from the beginning of the Nile to Cape Point, the southern tip of Africa.

As a growing secondary city, the arrival of additional aviation players to compete with SA Express is more than welcomed, proving that Mangaung is the “City on the Move’’.

Uber, the taxi service, is sniffing and sniffing around.

Their imminent arrival is long overdue.

All major cities have Uber.

Bloemfontein will hopefully join the club of major cities such as Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth that have Uber at their doorstep.

In the pursuit of greatness, great steps must be undertaken.

Today, the city of Durban is a model on how to use events to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The Premier Soccer League, when it needs to decide on a “neutral” venue to play a final, would decide on Durban, and now increasingly Port Elizabeth.

The decision to host the finals in Durban was after intense situations behind the scenes and lobbying by Durban.

A few years later, Durban gets the nod to host the Commonwealth Games as a stepping stone to have a bid document to host the Olympic Games.

Cape Town’s potential to host the Olympic Games is best described by Thabo Mbeki in his two nations speech as a “dream deferred’’.

In 2015, Port Elizabeth hosted the MTN Cup Final and also the Nedbank Cup.

This ensured that tourists flocked to Port Elizabeth for the mutual benefit of the Greater Nelson Mandela Bay Municipa-


The MetroFM Music Awards will be hosted in Durban and this will be a boost to tourism in the city.

Almost all municipalities have adopted tourism-led local economic development.

Mangaung has a compelling product to be able to lobby that the next MetroFM Awards are hosted in Mangaung.

Attracting the event is the easy part. The legacy you seek to create must go into that thinking process too.

When growing up, major boxing events used to happen in Madison Square Garden, until Las Vegas punched above its weight and became the undisputed destination for major boxing events.

  • Let that be the legacy of our beloved Mangaung: a city that punches above its weight. Unathi Sonwabile Henama teaches Tourism at the Tshwane University of Technology and writes in his personal capacity.

Let that be the legacy of our beloved Mangaung: a city that punches above its weight.

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