VENDORS get a boost

DURBAN beachfront vendors scored the opportunity of a lifetime by learning foreign languages in order to cope with tourists and promote their businesses.

More than 20 vendors have been attending French classes three times a week at Boscomb Jog, Beachfront.

eThekwini municipality business support manager Makhosi Sithole said this was a pilot project to assist vendors in communicating with tourists.

He said they were pleased with the response shown by the traders and hoped that it would lead to other similar projects aimed at helping informal traders.

"At first we wanted French and Portuguese classes but we did not get a response from the Portuguese embassy," she said.

Sithole said in order to make the vendors feel at ease one of the French facilitators is Zulu-speaking and understands the diversity of cultures in South Africa.

"French and Portuguese are the most common languages in Africa, so we thought it could help local traders to understand basic things like prices and greetings," Sithole said.

Durban will host seven of the World Cup matches and more than 100000 visitors are expected to descend on the coastal city during the event starting on June 11.

One of the traders, Hlanganani Ntsuntsha, who sells curios and crafts, said it was difficult to learn a new language at his age.

"I hope it will help me sell more of my wood crafts," he said.