Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, visited Khayelitsha, Western Cape, on September 12, with Airbnb hosts in the township who are embracing technology to grow their businesses and share South African culture.

The hosts completed a two-week innovation and hospitality programme through Airbnb.

There are currently six Airbnb hosts in Khayelitsha, and a further five offering Airbnb Experiences.

Interest in signing up with Airbnb is growing, which has led to the tech platform dedicating a space at the Khayelitsha Barn to advise aspiring entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs Buntu Matole and Ayanda Cuba, Founders of About Brands Communities and Designs Concepts (ABCD), offer the Hilltop Run Experience on the Airbnb platform.

The experience takes tourists on a six-kilometre jog or cycle through the community. They are given a brief history of the area, ending off with a lunch.

All proceeds go toward their Sporting Code initiative, which uses sport as a development tool for young people. One of their projects is to build a multi-purpose centre for the Chumisa School.

Matole said: “We are disrupting the way people view Khayelitsha. When tourists come in here by bus, that’s not interactive. When you are jogging or cycling through the streets, you can form a real connection.”

Maria Maile, an Airbnb host, said her business had been expanding since she signed up on Airbnb.

“My business is my pride, and I want to inspire the women and young people of Khayelitsha,” she added.  

 “The entrepreneurs here are sharing South African culture with the world. The Barn has always been a hub of innovation and technology and I am glad to see that it is playing a central part in driving this exciting growth that we are seeing here in Khayelitsha,” said Minister Winde.

Velma Corcoran, Airbnb’s Regional Market Consultant for Southern Africa, said: "Through hosting on Airbnb, members of the Khayelitsha community can become part of the tourism economy. This will directly impact their lives but also benefits the wider community, local business and shops. Airbnb can help unlock diverse communities that weren't as accessible to visitors before. We are very excited about this opportunity."