by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH African Tourism is mourning the death of one of the sector’s pioneers in the country, Lebo Malepa.
The multiple-award-winning business owner passed away on Christmas Day following a long period of ill-health.
The deceased is the founder of Soweto Backpackers.
“It is truly a sad day not only for his family and friends but for the entire tourism sector,” Themba Khumalo, SA Tourism Acting Chief Executive Officer, said.
He lauded Malepa as a visionary, innovator and an inspiration to many people.
“He led the way and managed against all odds to grow a successful business. He brought hope to many township tourism businesses.”
Khumalo hailed Malepa as the epitome of entrepreneurship and passionate about empowering his community.
“The nation has lost a treasure. We applaud Lebo for his contribution to the success of tourism in this country,” he said.
Malepa started off selling crafts to tourists in 1998.
He opened Soweto Backpackers in 2003, starting off using his one back room in the yard of his parents’ house in Orlando West, Soweto.
It has over the years grown to host tourists from all over the world.
The entrepreneur introduced bicycle tours in Soweto.
His offering also included hosting story-telling nights for tourists where locals get to share stories with tourists staying at the Soweto Backpackers.
– CAJ News