Mzwandile Qubeka and Liziwe Ngcokoto have been running the Liziwe’s Guest House since 2005 and have built it up brick by brick – now they hope to do more in 2021.
Gugulethu, South Africa (12 January 2021) – 72-year-old Mzwandile “Donald” Qubeka and his 61-year-old wife Liziwe Ngcokoto were hit hard by the lockdown. They own and run a guest house in the township of Gugulethu and when the pandemic hit, they lost all their bookings and income.
The couple had been travelling to the airport nearly every single day when the world worked. Their guest house was almost always full because international tourists loved the idea of staying in a South African township. Their guest house was one of the top places to be in Gugulethu, offering township tours and local cuisine was just some of the incredible things on offer.
Liziwe’s Guest House was registered as a business in November 2005. But the story starts long before that. In 1990, Donald and Liziwe were able to purchase a plot of land from the local council. They built their shack on the land and started dreaming big!
Donald was working near a demolished building so each day he collected some of the old bricks left to rot nearby. He chiselled them clean and built his collection over the period of 5 years. All the while, he dreamt of building a home for his family.
Liziwe had a different but equally exciting dream. She wanted to open the first ever guest house in Gugulethu. They decided to do both and the building began. It took years but by 2005, they were ready to welcome the first guests.
“My wife always had a dream of opening the first Guest House in Gugulethu, which took years to build. We started by furnishing the first four guest rooms, and eventually, the big day came in November 2005, when we registered our business and never looked back.”
Donald retired in 2010 as a Machine operator at Sappi Craft. The couple worked to save and after a few years, took the nest-egg they had and invested in extending the guest house.
“Due to the increasing demand from local and foreign visitors wanting a township experience, we wanted to accommodate more people and finally extend the guest house. A contractor was introduced to us and requested upfront payment to begin the project, but we later realized, he was a con artist after he did not return to finish the project, leaving us with a wrecked house, without funds to finish what we had started.”
“We rely heavily on guest bookings to keep our business alive. Due to the covid-19 epidemic and lockdown regulations we were forced to close our doors. It has been pretty strenuous as our guest house has been our only source of income to keep us going.”
They are hoping to raise the funds needed to complete their guest house renovation before they welcome guests back. Donald set up a crowdfund on BackaBuddy with the hopes of raising R375,000 which will help them pay for building materials and a reputable contractor.
“We look forward to 2021, with the hope to raise funds amounting to R375 000. This will greatly assist and help us cover most of the expenses needed to complete the project so that we keep doing what we love, by welcoming visitors from all over the world who are looking for an unforgettable township experience at Liziwe’s Guests House.
We hope you will be walking this journey with us to help make our dream a reality.”
If you would like to support them and their business, you can do so via BackaBuddy here.