AS the province of KwaZulu- Natal finalises its plans for the upcoming Tourism Indaba set to take place between 2-4 April, Msunduzi Municipality has gone full steam ahead with its own plans in readying communities so that they are a part of growing the local economy. To achieve this, the municipality worked hand in hand with the Department of Economic Development Tourism & Environmental Affairs to host the Tourism Entrepreneurs & Careers Expo which took place between 13 and 14 March.
Participants at the expo included were members of communities as well as local schools. Accompanying the City Mayor Councillor Themba Njilo to the event were the Chairperson of the Sustainable Committee Eunice Majola and Tourism Manager Gugu Mvelase in ordre to ensure the expo attains its objectives.
Mayor Njilo expressed his elation regarding the staging of the event as it disseminated information on enterprise and economic development to schoolgoing people who, upon completion of their qualifications, will be able to take well-informed decisions on the sectors of entrepreneurship they would like to embark on.
“I am glad that this event is taking place as learners were taught about how and why outlets like 033 Lifestyle are always packed to capacity as well as the dynamics involved in making them a success and how these contribute to local economic development. As a result, when the time comes, they will be able to make use of these insights so that they can also start their own businesses within the city,” said the mayor.
Fellow Councillor Majola had this to say: “The hosting of this expo in Msunduzi will go a long way in catalysing economic development and tourism, which I am a custodian of and I can only hope that this will not be a one hit wonder but it should be sustained. Such activations need to continue taking place, especially with Msunduzi being the capital city as people need to see them taking place in order to increase the number of people conducting business locally.”
Tourism Manager Ms. Mvelase said the activation is a first of its kind in the Msunduzi jurisdiction and surrounding areas. “The objective of this activation is to publicise to learners opportunities available in the tourism industry and this could be job opportunities or running your own business. She went further by saying that residents who would benefit are those that would identify business opportunities based on resources at their disposal and go to market in order to selfsustain. She added that the tourism industry does contribute to the local economy if those entrusted with being its custodians do justice to it.
Excitement was in the air as the learners consumed the information being shared with them. Ms. Nqobile Mabaso who is a Grade 11 learner at the Njoloba Secondary School bought some beaded jewellery handmade by one Mrs Sibongile Mkhize said that her beads bore a rather unique design and she would dawn them together with her other traditional wear.
“I chose to buy them because I pride myself in being a [mu]Zulu and I will wear them when there are cultural events or when traditional treasures are celebrated,” said Nqobile.
Meantime, Mrs Mkhize added: “I am grateful to government for exposing us to such opportunities and also for identifying the need for such a worthwhile project as they play a major role in being drivers of local economic development like in identifying markets for our products and services. We won R15 000 in prize money in a festival of beads and not in our wildest dreams did we ever think of win prize money through beading. In addition, we continued beading because it is a craft that we know but we did not think it is something that can put bread on the table,” said Mrs Mkhize.
She continued by saying that whenever such opportunities become available, she goes out of her way as customers place orders for her products in excess of 10 units each time and that she has also supplemented her stock by acquiring traditional wear for hire in order to broaden her revenue stream.