Entrepreneur sets up township guesthouse

South Africans nationwide have been asking how the common man will profit from the World Cup tournament that will attract 350 000 foreign supporters?

Alina Thonjeni, a 69-year-old single mother of four, has the sort of entrepreneurial spirit necessary to benefit from the influx of tourists during the soccer tournament.

She retired from her job to convert her modest but well-kept home in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, into a guesthouse.

Her dream is to provide a viable, cost-effective (at R150 per person per night) alternative to the mainstream hotels and their massively inflated prices over the next month or so.

Alina has wide-ranging knowledge about the history of Alexandra, the oldest township in Johannesburg. It was established in 1921 and is home to several South African cultural icons, activists and sporting personalities.

The hostess plans to serve traditional African food to her guests, and relay her stories and memories of life in a South African township. Visitors will get the chance to experience how many South Africans live.

“I’ll meet people from all over the world, and I want to make them feel welcome. I can provide a unique experience for tourists visiting our country,” Alina says.

So far, two Dutch supporters have stayed at her guesthouse, but she has no advance bookings to speak of.

The South African government maintains that the World Cup will benefit the country as a whole. However, it is difficult for people to profit from the event on an individual basis because of the stringent Fifa rules and regulations.

Alina is an amazing person and a great hostess who is proud to share her home and her life with tourists. It will undoubtedly be an experience of a lifetime to stay in her guesthouse.


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