Foreign students promise a return visit

2017-04-13 06:00
Malebo Bread and Breakfast owner Lydia Masoleng flanked by Dutch students and some of her neighbours.PHOTO: voox sonandzi

Malebo Bread and Breakfast owner Lydia Masoleng flanked by Dutch students and some of her neighbours.PHOTO: voox sonandzi

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Mutual benefit can be derived from tourism if industry players involve the communities in which they make their buck.

This was clearly demonstrated when Lydia Masoleng hosted students from Netherlands at her Malebo Bed and Breakfast in Graceland recently.

Lydia, in co-operation with her neighbours shared the students amongst themselves and offered them accommodation.

“I approached my neighbours so that they can benefit by earning rental fees for the duration of the tour,” said Lydia.

She said the exercise gave the touring students “a real chance of learning about South African life.”

“In that way we gave them a feel at home experience and they too had an opportunity to interact with families in a relaxed vibe,” she explained.

The ROC Tilburg University students spent time coaching learners from Masiphumelele Primary School, teaching them some aspects of the famed “total football”. That’s s a tactical theory of football in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team.

Not all play, they had their hands dirty painting the walls of the KwaNothemba Home for the Disabled and fixed parts of a broken kitchen. They bought the paints and the required material to do the job.

Tilburg University lecture Joost Sondaal, who brought the tour to South Africa said it “was great learning experience.”

“They emerged out of this visit better students and have a grasp of how life is in South Africa, not the least in Khayelitsha,” he said.

For Sondaal it is the second time that he is bringing his students to the country.

In October 2016 he took a group on a tour of Soweto.

Lindiwe Shabalala who runs a community tourism and conflict resolution project in Jozi called Phaphama Initiative, said the idea to bring students to Khayelitsha was “born in Soweto”.

“We want these groups to learn about township life in various communities because they all differ,” said Lindiwe.

She said there would be more tours cris-crossing the areas of Khayelitsha and Soweto in the near future.

Student Evy Janssen said the trip was eye-opening for her: “It was my first trip outside of Europe and I did not know what to expect , but am happy to have experienced it. I will definitely come back in the future,” said Evy.

Niels Meulemans said he noticed that there were many differences between “blacks and white” but appreciated the fact that they were seemingly living in unity.

“I saw people that have a positive outlook and want to do things for themselves,” said Niels.

Lydia was happy that her visitors experienced the sincere hospitality and down-to-earth vibes of Khayelitsha.

“This is the biggest and youngest township on the Cape Flats. It is also one of the poorest townships but people have hope, that’ what matters,” she said.

Maria Maile benefitted from hosting the students. “They really enjoyed their stay here and were walking freely as if they are residents,” she said.

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