from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – MPHIKELELI Mthembu has always wanted to explore the world. It is no wonder he is making a mark in the tourism industry where he is one of the brightest prospects.
“I even chose a tourism subject in my high school,” the 25-year-old from the Manguzi rural area of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) said.
“I am from the far north where we were not exposed to many things. I wanted to travel the world and try new things,” he added in an interview.
Mthembu is the owner of a travel company, Thonga Travel Tours and Car Hire.
He explained how he eventually chose “Thonga.”
Thonga is a Bantu word meaning “people from Mozambique” in English. The Thonga are one of the ethnic groups considered part of the Tsonga.
“I ended up loving this name. I realised that the Zulu language from our side and urban areas are not the same, which makes them (locals) to think we are Thonga,” Mthembu said.
Mthembu’s company is based in Richards Bay and has offices also in Durban and Manguzi.
The company provides airport transfer, game reserve tours, adventure tours, shuttle service, accommodation booking and flight booking.
He started his career at Canefied Hotel in Empangeni, after which he went to Solo Travel Tours.
Mthembu is grateful to mentor Solomon Gumede for grooming.
“I’m here because of him. He played a huge role in me. He is one of the best tour operators in KZN,” Mthembu said of Gumede.
Thonga Travel Tours and Car Hire were opened in 2020, the year COVID-19 hit local shores.
“Like other businesses it was very hard during the covid19 pandemic,” Mthembu said.
He added, “It had negative effects on our company as some of our employees got retrenched.”
With the industry recovering, Thonga Travel Tours and Car Hire has partnerships with hotels locally, in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West provinces as well as the neighbouring country, Mozambique.
“In five years, we see our company growing and hiring more staff,” Mthembu projected.
“Our vision is to become the clients first choice and the best corporate partner providing efficient and effective consultative services satisfying the needs of our clients and always exceeding their expectations,” he added.
“We strive to be the most professional and customer responsive travel consultants by using our knowledge, experience and contacts in order to serve our customers with tailor-made solutions to all of your holiday needs,” Mthembu concluded.
– CAJ News