Shova Lifestyle Origin offers tours through Soweto to art galleries, holds events, exhibitions and includes a fashion boutique. It holds the #TheVilakaziStreetNightMarket on the last Thursday of every month, which aims to give a platform to local artists and entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses.

Based in Soweto, South Africa, Thabo Modise is the Managing Director and Founder of Shova Lifestyle Origin.  He started the company in late 2013 when he realised that there is a gap in the market. “Our art is not well exposed to the local or international market, so we decided to expose local artists/entrepreneurs with pride,” Modise explains, “giving a platform to other young artists.” Modise wants to transform South African townships into “upmarket economic powerhouses.”

Another inspiration to create the business was Modise’s own clothing brand, Masiseleni-Harenweng, which he started in 2008. “I realised how hard it was for lesser known African designers to get clothing shops to sell their brands, so I created a place specifically for African art and clothing.”

Modise’s business has become a movement and is gaining traction. “Today we are a movement called Shovaism and we are Shovanists, activists of black/townships economy,” says Modise.

 “A challenge that we have, from my personal entrepreneur’s journey, is getting strategic partners to come into my business so we can make sure that the vision of transforming the township gets to be realised,” Modise explains.

Another challenge that Modise faced was getting enough financial backing to keep up with the pace of the business, “You can’t move at the pace that you actually want to move with,” Modise explains. He goes on to say that his love for tourism kept him focused on getting his business up and running through the challenges.

“I want Shova to become a world renowned shopping and tourism destination of choice,” as well as create jobs and contribute to the economy.

This article is part of a series where Tourism Update highlights small, medium- and micro-sized enterprises in the tourism sector. This series is brought to you courtesy of South African Tourism.