Use Ekurhuleni as a tourism pillar, emphasizes Gauteng Tourism Agency board chair Kehla Mthembu, unflinchingly.
An accomplished traveler and astute businessman was giving his address at the recent media tour that also, featured Golf Day at the swanky Serengeti Golf Estate, in the East Rand.
Mthembu made a clarion call to the City of Ekurhuleni, that they should not just concentrate on Aerotropolis but to further spread their wings to unearth products they should be proud of as a brand.
“Yes, the Aerotropolis has done exceeding well to market the City but more initiatives are needed to stimulate economy in both the City and the Province.
Why would tourist(s) spend a night in Gauteng when we have an abundance of products and sought after destinations at our disposal?” he asked during awards presentations that were preceded by a fashion-parade.
Let us establish what sells locations and other areas rather than the City -being used as a transit because of the OR Tambo International Airport, he pointed out.
“SA Open signifies what the City stands and prides itself with; but Ekurhuleni has to wake up and smell the coffee,” warned Mthembu.
On a lighter note though, we visited the Chris Hani Memorial that has been declared a National Monument.
According to Vincent Maumela, senior manager heritage services at the City of Ekurhuleni –Chris Hani’s house would be turned into a museum. However, everything depends on the talks between the City and current owner.
Says Maumela:” The resolution was taken in 2006 in consultation with the family. So far the process is going well but we hope the current owner will afford us that opportunity to honour our fallen gallant.”
Processes are at advanced stage to also declare the whole site a National Heritage Site, since April has being dedicated to Chris Hani.
Despite not knowing much about the ‘hidden gems’ Ekurhuleni has, we had an ‘awesum kasi’ night experience at Brima Caffee (local comedians left us in stictches), before ‘landing’ unceremoniously at the Aviation Museum-were all kinds of ‘fossils’ airlines are kept for training cabin crew as we experienced, the following day.
It also offers tours to schools and corporates to eke out a living since it’s a NPO and has no association with SAA, according to spokesperson.
We wrapped up the day by visiting OR Tambo Cultural Precinct that serves as an example of green building for municipalities across the country. It is found 500m from where Oliver and wife Mme Adelaide are buried.
For sundowners Benoni Lakes Hotel was an ideal venue. Enjoyed the service.
Yes, believe it or not -we were chauffeured in ‘maphele’ taxis a kasi lingua meaning cockroaches.
If only such experiences can be packaged and marketed substantially, Ekurhuleni City could become a real hidden gem, says GTA head of communications Barba “G” Gaoganediwe.