Lodge is start of big plan
The sleepy village of Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal came to life when MEC for economic development and tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu, and his counterpart. MEC for arts, culture and sport Weziwe Thusi, officially opened a lodge in the rural area to boost tourism.
The visit by Mabuyakhulu and Thusi marked the beginning of a rural development initiative starting with the opening of the R8million Bhambatha Lodge in Ngome.
Phase one of the lodge consists of 11 luxury rooms.
The lodge is close to the site of the late inkosi Bhambatha kaMancinza Zondi's homestead.
Bhambatha is known for spearheading the poll tax uprising in 1906.
The lodge is a stone's throw from where the Bhambatha Uprising happened more than a century ago.
The lodge is a joint venture between the government, private sector and the community and is expected to be a huge tourist draw card.
It is also expected to become a catalyst for other economic activities in an area that has high poverty levels in spite of its historic significance.
Mabuyakhulu said the opening of the lodge in the area marked the beginning of the development and stimulation of tourism in rural areas.
He said the project was in keeping with the government's objective to develop rural areas in order to fight poverty and unemployment.
"We want people in the area to convert their homes into bed-and-breakfast establishments that will be marketed with the lodge," he said.
"The lodge will also promote Zulu culture among tourists."
Mabuyakhulu said because of the area's rich history and cultural importance, there were plans to build an arts and craft market there.
He said people in rural areas should create their own economy.
"If people want to benefit from the 2010 World Cup they must participate in the tourism business," he said. "They should form cooperatives for art works to build the economy of the area."
The local youths hailed the government's attempt to address unemployment in the area.
Bongeka Ngubane said they hoped that the lodge would create employment for the youth.
"The project is a step in the right direction," he said. "We hope that our lives will now become better.
"We know that not all of us will get jobs here but it is a positive move. Rural development is a pillar of the struggle against unemployment and poverty."