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Saturday, July 17, 2021


(Right: Nkosiyazi Makhanya)

The month of June commemorates South African Youth. Tourism KwaZulu-Natal thought it best to celebrate the success of young entrepreneurs in the tourism business.

More and more young people are leaving their cookie cutter nine-to-five jobs to venture into entrepreneurship.

Nkosiyazi Makhanya, born and raised in Izingolweni, a small village on KZN's south coast, started his business KXC Adventures in 2016, which focuses on tour operations, branding and marketing.

“My passion for entrepreneurship ignited when I joined the work environment as a sales and marketing representative, allowing me to work with diverse people. The experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry gave me confidence to start my own business,” he said.

Makhanya had faced many challenges in terms of financial capacity and how to start a business. However, he overcame this by having worked in the sales industry for nine years and attending a variety of business workshops, networking and analysing business trends in South Africa.

KXC Adventures now manages KwaXolo Caves Adventures which has three permanent and two contract staff. Makhanya envisions KwaXolo Caves Adventures will offer more activities to locals and tourists with a zipline, a suspension bridge and even a restaurant and coffee shop in the future.

“Tourism KZN has been a critical part of our progress and success today. With the help of their Growth and Development Unit, our staff have been trained to become professional tour guides and have received accredited certificates.”

His advice to young people is to work tirelessly to turn dreams into reality.

(Left: Philile Nzimande)

Philile Nzimande is the founder of Traveling Cheapskates, a travel company that creates group travel experiences for millennials in KZN. She manages a team of two freelancers, multiple drivers and a few accommodation establishments.

“My passion for travel and giving young people the gift of travel is what inspired me to start my own business," she said.

Her love for making travel accessible to her counterparts pushed her towards entrepreneurship. She lives by the motto “Travel first, think later!”

Nzimande says that even in a liberal and democratic society, starting a business as a young black woman in the travel industry was the hardest time for her.

“Lack of finances is not the end of your business; start with what you have and build from there,” she said.

Her advice to young people moving forward in the tourism industry is collaboration - it is important to collaborate with as many like-minded companies as possible. Nzimande sees a promising future for Traveling Cheapskates. Her five-year vision board includes being a leader in South African black travel, attracting clients from the UK and the USA and also owning a transport business to create more authentic travel experiences for her clientele.

(Right: Lungelo Phakathi)

Another remarkable success story is Lungelo Phakathi, founder of Tuscany by the Sea located in Port Edward. He opened the guest house in 2016 and employs five permanent staff.

“My love for service delivery, becoming a tourist destination and growing tourism in KZN pushed me to start my own business,” he said.

The greatest challenge he faced as an entrepreneur was to gain exposure for his business. However, he overcame this limit through strategic alliances with organisations such as and Airbnb.

Phakathi said the pandemic posed challenges for the business. However, adherence to health care guidelines and expert advice has proven beneficial. His advice to youth who are looking to venture into the tourism industry is to prioritise service delivery. Always think about what is best for the client.

He plans to open a second B&B in Leisure Bay in Port Edward and hopes to work with Tourism KZN on future projects.

(Left: Nelisiwe Nzimakwe)

Nelisiwe Nzimakwe, owner of The Homestead in Munster, on the KZN south coast, specialises in the renovation of old furniture into new pieces, manufactures clothing and transforms recyclable waste into decorative items. She also co-owns WOWZulu, which offers sustainable community tourism to KZN.

Nzimakwe experienced many challenges such as marketing and receiving support from the older generation in her community.

“We received assistance from Ugu South Coast Tourism who advertised WOWZulu in their magazines and on their website. We are very lucky and thankful for the continued support of Tourism KZN as well,” she says.

She plans to further grow WOWZulu, employ more people such as story tellers, craftsmen and tour guides as well open a shop where she can sell her own crafts soon.

(Right: Mbali Khumalo)

Founder of Taste KZN, Mbali Khumalo started her culinary business in 2015 following a diagnosis of Keratoconus, a condition in which the clear tissue on the cornea bulges outward into a cone shape.

Khumalo said she started baking and cooking as a means of therapy which turned into natural talent. She employs four staff on a full-time basis.

“Raising enough capital to open my own café in an up-market area or mall was a challenge, but I soon realised rental space was extremely expensive for a startup business,” she said.

Khumalo later decided to operate as a pop-up café, using an old food truck. She said the idea was to keep moving from location to location offering delicious meals to locals and tourists. Being the first in her family to take up entrepreneurship was no stroll in the park. Resilience and passion helped her get through the tough times. She won the iLembe Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Entrepreneurship competition in 2019.

“I plan to have my own establishment in the heart of Ballito area that serves traditional African cuisine in a very fine dining experience in the future. I also see myself as a brand ambassador and cookbook author,” she adds.

(Left: Joshiah Da Silva)

Joshiah Da Silva, owner of Evolva Games in Salt Rock, north of Durban, offers mysterious outdoor and cryptic puzzle games and unique and real-life adventures for locals and tourists.

“Evolva Games is an escape room meets scavenger hunt where I adapt the best elements from each game into one exclusive experience that has an original storyline to complete,” he said.

A lover of outdoor activities, entertainment and games prompted Joshiah to launch his own business to share with the world.

A continuing challenge he faces today is to attract the attention of people to notice Evolva Games and what they offer. It is a new concept and different from other KZN operations.

Joshiah thinks word-of-mouth has been better. Talking with the locals about his business and collaborating with other businesses where possible will further grow Evolva Games in the near future. His advice to young people in the tourism industry is to learn from other people in business.

“Most importantly, prepare yourself at any moment to triple your efforts and focus on a specific goal or task and keep doing that,” he adds.


Tourism KwaZulu-Natal is responsible for the development, promotion and marketing of tourism into and within the province, both domestically and internationally. The organisation is an entity that reports to the provincial Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

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