by FUTHI MBHELE in Durban, South Africa
KWAMASHU – THE issue of drunk driving is one the deadliest scourges in South Africa, where thousands of lives are lost on the roads per year.
Walking on the street while intoxicated is another risk.
Amid the country’s battle with the bottle and intoxication behind the steering wheel being national crises, in them, Bongani Ngcobo (49) saw an opportunity.
He is the proprietor of the Mapholoba Guest House in the KwaMashu township north of Durban.
Notable for its lively performing arts and party scene, the iconic township can be synonymous with alcohol consumption.
“I saw this as an opportunity to open a guest house so that people will come and sleep when they are drunk and avoid arrest,” Ngcobo said.
The guest house, named after his clan name, is situated in E section of “uMashu”, seven kilometres from where Ngcobo stays.
He stays in the M section.
Ngcobo opened the guest house five years ago with the aim of accommodating locals but as the years went by, tourists are also booking.
“The Comrades Marathon weekend was fully booked with people from Johannesburg,” he said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
“Even if the events are held in Durban, it is usually people from outside our province (KwaZulu-Natal) that book first,” Ngcobo said.
Mapholoba is often fully-booked during other events such as concerts by the award-winning Joyous Celebration, Durban July and the Easter holidays.
The guest house has 16 rooms that cost between R400 (more than US$23) and R450.
There is also a conference room for corporate clients.
The place also caters for birthday, bridals shower and baby shower parties.
“It is a small venue for small functions. We have a braai area as well,” Ngcobo said.
What makes the founding of Mapholoba even interesting is that Ngcobo is a former teacher.
A holder of an Honours Degree in Education from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, he taught for 15 years.
The proprietor is relieved the restrictions to fight the spread of the COVID-19 have been lifted.
These lockdowns had devastating effect on the tourism sector globally.
“The pandemic nearby killed the business as we had to close for some time but now, all is good,” Ngcobo concluded.
– CAJ News