Taste of hospitality

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

It is a cool Thursday. My colleague Mohau Mofokeng and I arrive at The View guesthouse in Tembisa on the East Rand.

The owner, Sheila Sekhitla, is waiting for us in the little office off the passage.

The corridor leads to the dining area. There is an adjacent bar and the bedrooms are nearby.

On the interior of the facebrick wall opposite the office hangs an array of certificates of achievement.

Among the certificates is the one that ensures visitors that this is not a fly-by-night institution.

A certificate from the country's tourism and hospitality industry grading and monitoring body, Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, hangs in the centre of other certificates. It tells you the guesthouse is four-star graded.

The guesthouse is just a 15-minute drive from the OR Tambo International Airport.

After formal introductions Sekhitla ushers us to the rooms where we will be spending the night as her guests.

We leave our luggage in our rooms.

She takes us back to the main entrance where she begins relating her story of how she came into the hospitality business.

Starting from the main entrance everything has a sentimental attachment for her.

"When I turned this house into a business place, I decided to keep the features on the door so I could tell people about it.

"I was born on April 17 and 17 is also the address here," she says.

"J is for my first name, Julia, and when you turn the J around it becomes an L, my late husband Lesley's initial. When the door was made, we already had two boys. But we were battling to have a girl, so we added the two breasts, symbolising the girl and we got one. We named her Masechaba."

She takes us around to a 20-capacity dining area and next to it is a food-serving point .

She shows us her bedroom, where I will be sleeping. What a privilege!

The View guesthouse encompasses what used to be Sekhitla's immediate neighbours.

It has a conference facility that can accommodate 150 people.

There is a spacious waiting area and the decor is a fusion of western and African themes.

Guests' bedrooms are available for singles, couples and family visitors. Almost all of them have private bathrooms.

There is ample outside seating for outdoor fanatics or guests who wish to enjoy the convivial homely air.