Bukiwe Lupindo

UMzinyathi Group (PTY)LTD

What does your company do?

UMzinyathi Group (PTY) Ltd is a family business, a private company based in Matatiele with vested interest in real estate and local tourism. The company has a wide spectrum of nature-based activities and services that foster the community and visitor appreciation and understanding of natural and cultural heritage in the small towns located in the North Eastern Cape region. With Matatiele as your base, our services allow you to explore parts of the countryside, along the R56 Route, that few are lucky enough to see. The ‘uncommercialised’ vibe matches its laid back, friendly hospitality. Birdwatching and hiking are a pastime of choice for locals. This is an ideal ‘off the beaten track’ destination to explore and unwind. Our vision is to promote a sustainable rural tourism economy in Matatiele Local Municipality.In essence we are a destination marketing company. We promote tourism packages based on nature conservation and heritage; Develop leisure packages for adventure and cultural heritage; Showcase the natural and cultural heritage of the R56 route and Supporting community led nature conservation practice and Equestrian. The business operations include developing destination marketing material (i.e. framed pictures. Postcards, Wall prints/canvas and photobook travel book, cushions) showcasing Northern-Eastern Cape. We collect local Craft, artifacts and design clothing showing diverse culture in the region. We sell these on local and national craft markets and on our online tourism and souvenir shop, called Boutique Matatiele. UMzinyathi Group (Pty) Ltd also offers interior design and house staging consultant services with an Afrocentric signature style, a touch of functionality, luxury and opulence. Our tourists are always looking for homestays in villages and our home décor services can turn your simple home into attractive space for visitors lodging. We have a network of service providers that suppliers for all building, landscaping and energy solutions for the local home stays. We are passionate about our African heritage, culture, art and our interior designs have such influence. We deliver on small and medium sized projects providing clients distinct service, tailored to their taste and budget. Our main goal is helping the households to realize ultimate interior space that suit family and visitor’s needs. Our services include house plan designs, landscaping, home and event décor consultation, home and events staging videos. The ultimate goal to create sustainable village lodging, beautiful homes and spaces that embrace African heritage, beauty and soul in a way that would draw you back to the territory.

What is your biggest success?

Starting the business and sustaining operation without external funding has been our biggest success. Having young vibrant workforce who have understanding and appreciation of internet and Information technology and new Innovation in media and Marketing made us able to set up and work remotely, regardless of the ICT infrastructure challenges in rural villages.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Our biggest hurdles include the Provincial Government Tourism which undermined the location as tourism destination. Most of the focus is in coastal towns along the Indian Ocean/Sea. The Drakensberg Mountains, Route 56 and the gateway to Lesotho has diverse and authentic culture, unspoiled nature and landscape however underdeveloped. The roads, ICT infrastructure and the region being from airports is compromising the tourism business. Consequently making it an expensive tourism destination. The is no tourism information office for the whole Alfred Ndzo District Municipality, in addition to lack of coordination among local tourism role-players and practitioners. As much a Matatiele local municipality recognize tourism and agriculture as investment of choice (their slogan or vision statement) there is little investment the municipality has done to make sure the area is suitable for business operations. Cost of doing business is quite high, with low turnover. Lack of appreciation of rural tourism by locals (i.e. vandalism of old buildings, littering), poverty and unemployment make local youth despondent to start anything. As a business we practically starting from nothing, having to conduct community awareness.