This is were various forms of products and cultural amenities are manufactured and crafted by locals to earn a decent living and they’re winning in that department.
The media tour was in partnership with Dinokeng Game Reserve, which is the highest employer for locals.
From the moment one drives past the village nearer to the game reserve, the first sight on your left-handside would be the Mohale’s Green Goddess Nursery, which boasts refreshing and idyllic variants of flowers.
Being our first stop, we met up with the owner and ZCC follower ntate Solly Mohale who has been running the small operation since 2006.
Asked how many tourists he experiences daily, the unassuming Mohale says with laughter, a lot.
“Tourists do pop in for a mini-tour and purchase our flowers, some bundles of them. They enjoy doing that,” he says.
“This is the kind of market we would like to introduce to the black market and hopefully with you highlighting such stories publicly, we shall win.”
The Nursery which to date has only four fulltime staff, is expanding at an alarming rate.
Ntate Mohale whose business is part of the Dinokeng Community Project Expansion Programme, also pointed out to visiting media and guests that, they will be taking ownership of another piece of space just across the road from where the business currently operates.
“We hope with the talks at advanced stage with Dinokeng, we shall get that piece of space to grow our business further and employ more locals,” promises ntate Mohale.
Second stop on our list was the Jeanne Silver Tourists Hub which is adorned with Freedom Walls. Here, you come face to face with sought-after paintings made by Jeanne and her workers.
Smiles, tranquility and the beat of African drums welcome you!
Antiques, crafting and paintings of former Presidents Madiba, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma are the draw cards.
If you feel like enjoying a cold one under the tree seated on a beer/cold drink crate, look no further!
The unbelievable Jeanne, who has been living and crafting the ideas of how to enjoy life eternally with blacks for over 30 year’s, is a political activist and Councilor whom locals speak fondly of.
“My life has been somewhat great not to mention its painful experience. But that’s how life goes.
Being in the company of my ‘family’ an obvious reference to living with blacks for as long as she has lived has fulfilled me completely, she says.
“These crafts, my workers and the community have helped me to create jobs and educate some locals who in the past did not consider education as tool to fight poverty. Now they know and they’re bettering themselves,” says Jeanne resplendent in African beads and long great grey hair.
During our interview, three young boys rudely interrupt, and ask Jeanne if she would be interested in helping them establish a group to fight against Rhino Poaching. She obliges but, asks them to apologise for the interruption.
They oblige as well and we offer to hear their story.
“This is what I’m talking about. These kids don’t want me to rest. They enjoy seeing me yada-yading,” she declares jokingly.
This how it goes: The boys are from the Tuks University who are interested in mapping out strategies to help combat the killing of Rhinos and other animals. Due to limited resources and zilch ideas were to start, Jeanne is their only hope.
We hope to make follow up soon on that project, and Jeanne agrees.
As for Sarah Masotla-Bogoshi, whose smiles were written all over her voluptuous ‘body’, selling and marketing of products is what she knows best.
Having worked with Jeanne for the past 10 donkey years’, she tells that, the lady is amazing to work and be with.
“As part of contributing to the NGOs, we help the mentally retard and disabled to design, craft and bead various crafts. This helps them to be mentally involved rather than idle and do nothing. And so far it has worked magically.
Now what we want as from now onwards is more visitors and locals to visit and buy them,” says Sarah who is also a Community Development Officer at Ward 73.
Meanwhile, MEC for Economic and Development in Gauteng Nkosiphendule Kolisile, says Domestic Tourism is everyone’s responsibility. He was addressing delegates at Kwalata Game Reserve, Dinokeng next to Pretoria.
With this year’s theme “Tourism and Energetic Sustainability” a call has been made that patterns of long haul travel were changing and that this would impact on patterns of tourism.
Simply put, the MEC says due to climate change tourism could be affected due to limited resources, less traveling and Green Economy could be a thing of the past as a result of that globally.
“The onus is now with tourism industry to demonstrate to that local communities benefit from tourism. Dinokeng and Maropeng which are GTA’s marketing projects should indicate and commit to both the environment and locals in helping them to achieve better results as much as they do,” says Kolisile.
The resultant of the Dinokeng Project and Maropeng is a Gauteng Government initiatives – a solution to the economic challenges in the area which showed that eco-tourism would be best option for development of financially depressed portion of Gauteng. It’s a partnership with certain local product owners.
Dawn Robertson CE at GTA says this year’s theme, should be heeded by all. In the event we ignore that calling tourism would be affected resulting in high unemployment rate.
“We don’t need that. As from now onwards we will be engaging with key stakeholders on how best we can assess and remedy the situation before it get’s out of control,” says Robertson.
Also, at the gathering was Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa, to inform to the public what their role in tourism is?
It’s an organization which ensures tourism businesses act in a responsible fashion towards local communities and environment.
Kwalata Reserve which applied for the Fair Trade Grading could receive their certificate soon, according to the organizations’ personnel.
To wrap up the activities, trees were planted as a sign of responsible tourism for both media and guests.