'Proud Motswana' makes heritage part of his tourist offering

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"I started research about tourism and what it really means to be a traveler," says Koji.
"I started research about tourism and what it really means to be a traveler," says Koji.
Travel With Confidence
  • Percy Koji started his tour operator and travel agency business Travel With Confidence (TWC) in 2005.
  • His love for travel started when he took the train from his village to Johannesburg during school holidays.
  • He has seen that tourists travel to have experiences and "understand" South Africa's way of doing things through learning about its history.
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As a proud Motswana, his culture and heritage form an important part of Percy Koji's tour operator and travel agency business, Travel With Confidence (TWC), which was established in 2005.

"Tourists travel to learn, have experiences and 'understand' South Africa's way of doing things through learning about our history. Telling the stories of our heritage helps to interact and connect with tourists based on the 'reality' of our culture - who we are and what we do," said Koji.

"Our tours provide [the experience of] stories around our heritage, the Batswana people, migration and our unique South African history. It's important to know where one comes from and is going. Culture is what shapes society and helps to inform our thinking and behaviour in society." 

He has seen how having an element of culture as part of a tourist offering is important to travellers. It relates to the basic purpose of why people travel, namely, to create memories, experiences and to educate and be educated.

He cites examples of heritage tourist attractions in SA: visits to the Apartheid Museum, Robben Island, Soweto's Vilakazi Street, Mandela House, Maropeng (Cradle of humankind), even the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria.

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"All the above have a rich heritage. They all tell a story of how far we have come as South Africa and where we're going. They're also popular, because they are unique," said Koji.

Percy Koji heritage day story
Koji at the entrance to the Lesedi Cultural Village on the East Rand in Gauteng.
Supplied Travel With Confidence

He recently undertook a trip to South Korea to forge greater cultural tourism links.

"Koreans enjoy playing golf when visiting South Africa and to go on safari. My effort is mainly to increase tourism between South Korea and South Africa.

"This will help to create more local jobs. We aim to lobby the SA government to have at least one direct flight to South Korea. This will increase the number of tourists coming to South Africa and trade between the two countries," said Koji.

Personal journey 

He is from Taung Village in the North West.

"My father worked for the then-Spoornet [today Transnet] and that gave us the opportunity to travel by train from Taung to Johannesburg during school holidays.

"That was fascinating, and I enjoyed meeting people along the way, in the train. That allowed me to develop an inquisitive mind about travel. I imagined travelling out of South Africa and beyond," remembered Koji.

"I started research about tourism and what it really means to be a traveller. The first highlight was travelling to Botswana for the first time on my own. I enjoyed making friends too which I still visit to date. This was more than 16 years ago."
Lesedi Cultural Village.
Detail on display at the Lesedi Cultural Village.
Supplied Travel With Confidence

After completing high school, he obtained a three-year tertiary qualification in business tourism at Birnam Business College in Johannesburg and eventually started his own tourism business.

"To be an entrepreneur in South Africa is very hard, but I am still going on beyond Covid-19," said Koji.

"The company has also set up a foundation that helps put children through school.

"South Africa is facing serious challenges with the high unemployment rate. Government can't do everything on its own. We all need to collaborate, create more jobs, and build a strong South Africa."

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