Breaking out to find success

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

When a former prison warder entertained the thought of becoming a tourist guide, she never had an inkling that her decision would one day put her on a par with the best in the world.

Lindi Masinga, right, of Tsakane township on the East Rand, started her business, Mpumelelo Travel and Tours, as a way to have fun while she still worked for the Department of Correctional Services.

"I was with my husband one day when I saw a white man talking to a group of people. I asked my husband what the man was doing," she said.

"He told me he was a tourist guide. He said I could make it because I talk a lot. I then went on to train as a tourist guide."

Masinga is attending the yearly tourism and trade fair in Durban. She has a stand where she is marketing herself, competing with leading tour companies. She tells people from all over the world attending the show about the benefits of using her company.

The mother of three said she started the business in 2004. She has since exchanged her tough attitude of being a prison official and dealing with prisoners to an ever-smiling face that keeps tourists coming back.

"I now want to see my business grow. I started as a tourist guide but I am now a tour operator as well," Masinga said.

"Things are looking good at the Indaba and I have been having meetings with people and positive things have come out."

The places she takes tourists to include the Hector Pietersen Museum in Soweto, Gold Reef City, the Apartheid Museum and Constitutional Hill. Her clients include a mixture of local and international tourists.