Gogo Esther Mahlangu wins big at the Lilizela awards!

Honoured. The famous Ndebele Gogo Esther Mahlangu was honoured at the Lilizela Tourism Awards by minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom this past weekend.

This happened at the annual Lilizela Tourism awards held at the Sandton Convention Center, this past weekend.

Gogo Mahlangu from Mpumalanga, resplendent in Ndebele regalia smiled for cameras and interacted with well-wishers at the ceremony, as she was presented with the award by tourism minister Derek Hanekom.

The 80 years’ famous Gogo face is renowned internationally for her artistic work is as a previous Lilizela category winner in the Roots and Culture category.

Her colourful Ndebele designs have been exhibited around the world and have graced global brands such as BMW, British Airways, Fiat and Belvedere luxury vodka, placing South African traditional art and design on the international map.

Asked how she feels, she responded softly:”I’m happy my work craft is being recognized while still alive.”

We salute Mam’ Esther who is truly a national treasure and an outstanding
ambassador for South Africa’s rich cultural offerings,” Minister.

“The Lilizela Tourism Awards give us the opportunity to celebrate trailblazers such as Mam’ Esther, as well as service excellence in the South African tourism industry in general.”

The elated Lebo from Lebo’s BackPackers (Orlando) Soweto also won the backpackers category.

The awards established in 2013 recognise and reward exemplary service among
businesses in the local tourism sector, ranging from accommodation establishments and tour operators to scenic attractions and cultural heritage sites.

In 2016, the awards attracted a record number of 1122 entries, up 18% from last year’s total.

Lilizela Awards are made in a number of categories including the Service Excellence Award (with sub-categories Accommodation, Visitor Experience, Tourist Guides and Tour Operators); Entrepreneurship (for emerging tourism businesses); Sustainability and Good Governance; and the prestigious Minister’s Award, awarded at the minister’s discretion.

Former Absa executive and now SAT chief executive Sisa Ntshona, who has been in the hot seat for weeks says he was impressed with the categories since this was his first.

“I look forward working with everyone in the changing the face of the industry, particularly emphasizing transformation,” he told SLM exclusively on the sidelines.

Entry to the Lilizela Tourism Awards is free and tourism businesses of all sizes are encouraged.

For full winners list visit

Related posts

Honeymoon over for City of Tshwane’s chief of staff


Zuma and Mbalula to meet on killings ravaging KZN


‘Save Vusi Beachamp’s life’ fundraiser


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.