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Township Hospitality

Andrew Kabuura/Twenty Ten

Associated features: Alexandra Guesthouse (Multimedia feature), Township Guest House (Photo feature), and Township Rentals (Multimedia feature)

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

AUDIO: World Cup accommodation in the township of Alexandra.

For the first time the rights to host the FIFA world cup were awarded to the African continent. This announcement came with lots of excitement and stakeholders continent-wide have been planning for the tournament. Our reporter Andrew Kabuura is in Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa and now reports about a woman who has turned her residence into a guest house for the visitors during the world cup.

FX 1: World cup song, “wave your flag by kenan” playing and fades 00:7 secs

Link: When Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, announced on May 15, 2004 that South Africa will be hosting the 2010 World Cup, fans quickly looked to the tournament from different angles.

FX2: “Wave your flag” song continues 00:04 secs.

Link 2: Some were hoping to get tickets and watch a World Cup game on home soil; others thought it was great time for business to boom, while the rest dreamt about meeting and greeting different superstars.

Voxpop: Fans talking about the World Cup 00:10 secs.

Link 3: From a business point, the rich and able quickly bought land, hired labour and started on projects to build hotels and restaurants to cater for the millions of expected visitors and soccer fans.

FX 3: Ladies in Alexandra chatting in local language 00:2sec

Link 4: However, this was not the case in Alexandra, where Alina Thonjene lives. Her plan was for the World Cup was different.

FX: Local music plays and fades 00:08secs

The 60-year-old has turned her residential house into a guest house to both earn some money and also help the not-so-rich visitors get accommodation.

FX 4: More local music plays and fades 00:5secs

Link: On arrival, after leaving the posh Johannesburg, I wondered where the house supposed to host the visitors is located. Only to realize it’s the small five roomed house with concrete walls and old iron sheets for a roof that is am standing next to.

Plastered with grey paint, in a small metal fenced compound is the now guest house ready to welcome world cup visitors.

FX: Music plays softly

On entering the house, Alina Thonjene asks me to join her in prayers first so she blesses my visit. And after her passionately-said blessing, I ask her to take me through her small but rather well looked after now-guest house.

FX: Music plays and fades, going around the house 00:15secs

Link: A project she started two years ago has, however, not attracted the same attention like she hoped it would.

FX: Explains the number of guest so far 00: 10secs

Link: The last two actually left this morning.

FX: More from the house 00:15secs music

Link: The whole idea of the guest house was pioneered by Alina and four other friends. But as I speak, the others withdrew. She is now left with only Alina Stompie as the other share holder.

FX: More about the house as local music plays and fades 00:20secs

Link: So, how much does Thonjene charge per night?

FX: She explains the charge 00:10secs

Link: Sometimes her few guests have come with out enough money and she has had to provide food for no charge

FX: Thonjene how she has helped those without money music then fades 00:13secs

Link: Thonjene is an old but looking healthy lady, but her age has not stopped her from accomplishing her work and pursuing her dreams.

FX: Explains her age and how she can still work 00:17secs

Link: So, what are her future hopes? 00:14secs

FX: Explains her hopes 00:10secs

Cue out: It’s very hard to compare the facilities in this makeshift guest house to the other well known hotels. For example, the rooms aren’t air conditioned, no woollen carpets, and the rooms are not self-contained like many would have wished.

However, according to Thonjene, each day will be faced as it comes. And she hopes this residence turned guest house lives for many more years to come while earning her some income.

FX: “Am……happening” 00:3secs

Reporting for the Twenty Ten programme, in Alexandra, Johannesburg, this is Andrew Kabuura!

FX: local music playing and faded out

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