Her aim is to implement sustainable tourism businesses, redirect focus to heritage tourism as a means of building the economy and society, and above all, empower young entrepreneurs to create more jobs.
What lessons did you learn from your parents that you still treasure today?
I was born and raised in KZN Amandawe Mission in an average home with five siblings where my dad was the only breadwinner. He used to say, “Don't rush things, wait for the right time.”
Why go into travel and tourism?
I got married to someone who was working in the UK and I lived there for seven years. The love of travel and tourism started. In 2006 I enrolled for a B-tech in Travel and Tourism at Manchester University Business School. I realised that to make it into the real world, I had to create a platform for fellow Africans to know more about the Travel and Tourism Industry. My aim working with the youth was to inspire them that anybody can become his or her own boss and create a path to success, even while uplifting others.
Why did you start your agency?
I came back to SA in 2012 and I registered my Company Azibuyemasisweni Tourism Consulting Agency to do these Programs. The short-term goal is to see our placed graduates get permanent jobs. The long-term goal is to see our unemployed South African graduates start their own business rather than staying at home waiting for jobs. They need to create jobs for our future generations to promote culture and heritage tourism and the authenticity of Africa.
The idea behind starting the B&B and Living Art Museum and what are you hoping to achieve?
The idea behind B&B and Living Art Museum is that most of the time tourists come and go because they've got nothing to entertain them. With my tourism establishment when you come to the museum you can end up booking. If you booked for a night then you can end up busy with weekend outings because of the museum and art gallery.
What motivates you?
When I look back at my life, in many ways I see a life scarred with personal failures and setbacks. But over the years, I’ve learned God has blessed me greatly much, in spite of my personal failures. Let me be clear about something: One of my missions in life is to help younger leaders succeed. This is my sole motivation. I'm still very much a work-in-progress, but I reflect on where I am midway in my life and career.
What have been the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the tourism sector?
Creating a business is a huge undertaking. It's not a simple path and often includes details you may never have considered. I was hoping to excel in the tourism industry as a young black woman and climb the ladder. I've accomplished it because I'm a first black SA tourism specialist accredited by ACPD.
What have been the highlights to date?
My highlight has been being accredited as an award-winning SA Tourism Specialist winning Best in Tourism 2017. Also, one of the most significant achievements was when I placed 70 unemployed graduates. Three of them got permanent positions and I taught them entrepreneurship skills.