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The BBC's Jane Standley
"I'm on a tour of the smallest hotel in Africa"
 real 56k

Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 17:20 GMT
Township's tin-shack tourists
Vicki's Place
The smallest hotel in Africa : Vicki's Place
By Jane Standley in Khayalitsha township

Vicki's Place is probably the smallest hotel in Africa.

It is just two bedrooms, under a tin roof, in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township.

There is no en suite bathroom here - it is at the bottom of the garden. But the hotel is very clean, very comfortable and full of atmosphere.

New ventures

Vicki's Place is one of a number of new tourism ventures, which are the hope of an economy still struggling to come to terms with the effects of decades of apartheid.


When you have these tourists now coming 10,000km to see you in your little home, it's a great feeling

Enver Mally
Township tour guide
Vicki Ntozini, the eponymous owner, takes in foreign tourists, who want to see the other side of Cape Town.

They are not just interested in its beautiful beaches, but the poorest of its black townships too.

With township unemployment over 40%, tourism is seen as an easy way to create jobs for black South Africans, who are still not benefiting from the transition to democracy six years ago.

Confidence building

As well as bringing much needed cash, tourists give the townships self-confidence.

Vicky Ntozini
A one-woman show : Vicki Ntozini

"In our history, black people were told they were worth nothing, that they were unwanted," says Enver Mally, who runs guided tours in the township.

"So when you have these tourists now coming 10,000km to see you in your little home, it's a great feeling."

The tourists also gain confidence from the guided tours.

After having a traditional African lunch at Vicki's Place, they begin to feel aware and secure enough to stay in Khayelitsha overnight.

"I'd like to get closer contact to other people in Khayelitsha - and see how everyday life is like," says Christine Wertzhof, visiting from Germany.

Benefits all round

But everyday life here often means poverty, crime and unemployment.

German tourists
German tourists enjoy lunch with Vicky

Now big business has started to back township tourism initiatives like Vicki's Place.

They are seen as a way of promoting peace and stability and narrowing the gap between the townships and the rich white areas.

If tourists are to enjoy the genuine warmth of life in Khayelitsha, the township community must make sure they are safe too.

That means there will be benefits for all in the future.

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See also:

21 Nov 00 | Africa
Soweto's battle of the bulge
20 Nov 00 | Africa
Hip hop 'comes home'
27 Jul 00 | Africa
SA poverty gap remains
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