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Langa – Rethinking our approach to tourism

Langa Mural Street Art

Travel helps breakdown stereotypes and change misconceptions, when I moved to Cape Town 5 years ago, I was suddenly challenged by the space downgrade from the house we were familiar with.  In Gauteng we could live a fairly secluded life, houses were bigger, walls were higher, and parks weren’t always a shared meeting spot for the neighborhood. By embracing this new change, I soon realised that this is what made this City a lot different and in many ways special in its own unique way.  By interacting on a basic human level with my neighborhood I was able to gain insight from the locals.  This helped me re-look at my own prejudice and gave me context to Cape Town and its people.

Similarly in the travel industry we play an ambassadorship role weather we want to or not.  It’s is not only in the interest of visitors but to ourselves to provide a proper context to the South African Story.  This means ensuring authenticity and open communication from all relevant partners, and stakeholders involved

When I was drawing up our itineraries this year, I decided to change what I believed was a disconnect to some of our tour industries itineraries, and sought out some assistance.  This is when I came across Tony Elvin from Ikhaya Le Langa. Tony has invested the last 10 years in what he sees as an opportunity for “real” change breaking down stereotypes, breaking divides and re-looking at opportunities within the South African context.  He is currently working on creating a sustainable venture promoting Langa (South Africas oldest township), as a key role-player, through various ventures promoting; tourism, local restaurants, arts, and entrepreneurship.  One thing that caught my attention was his take on not promoting township tourism but to rather promote tourism in the township.  He promotes Langa as the heart of Cape Town and invites locals to be as much part of change as any tourist does.

His inspired me to re-look at how we approach tourism. We can choose to be the ambassadors of change or remain stuck portraying “wrong” tourism.  So I trust I can do some justice and ensure context to every itinerary when introducing guest to our shores, breakdown stereotypes, promote future opportunities within the “South African” context, and utilise and nurture local knowledge and expertise.

Our Odyssey of Freedom Tour takes visitors through Langa Township – For further detail please visit our tours page.
For more information on Ikhaya Le Langa please visit their website: https://ikhayalelanga.co.za

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