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AccorHotels and Mantis Invest in Future of Tourism in Africa

AccorHotels and Mantis have announced that Bulelwa Maxam and Tumelo Daniels are the recipients of the Accor/Mantis bursary to study towards a B.Com Hospitality Management at Stenden South Africa in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape.

Stenden South Africa offers Bachelor of Commerce degrees in Hospitality and Disaster Management. Stenden is a private university and strives to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds access to education with the assistance of private companies such as AccorHotels and Mantis.

Adrian Gardiner, Chairman of Mantis, said that “education is one of the five operating pillars at Mantis, who has been involved with Stenden South Africa since its inception. It is natural that AccorHotels and Mantis’ merger brings much-needed investment in education and especially here in the Eastern Cape.

Craig Erasmus from AccorHotels added that “AccorHotels is proud to welcome Bulelwa and Tumelo to the AccorHotels family and that the partnership with Stenden University was another important step in showing our intent on the continent and helping to support the growth of local capacity in the hospitality industry”.

The students will receive infrastructural support including accommodation, a laptop, and stationery. Ronel Bartlett, Student Affairs Manager at Stenden, explained that Stenden has an effective programme in place to ensure that all new students are integrated into the campus lifestyle. They will also work at MyPond Hotel which is managed by the University to develop their skills in various aspects of hotel management.

This is a fantastic opportunity for real-time learning as they will work with real hotel guests in a fully operational establishment. The students are fortunate enough to be guided by Stenden graduates and previous bursary students such as Gcobisa Gwavu, Restaurant Duty Manager at MyPond Hotel. Gcobisa said that the real world learning that takes place at MyPond Hotel allows the students to gain operational and life skills as they learn to manage their time and make the most of work, studies and play.

Gcobisa said that she enjoys assisting the students who, like herself, have come from disadvantaged backgrounds because she understands what their unique journey and strives to use her personal experience to help them grow into confident hospitality professionals.

The 2019 AccorHotels and Mantis bursary students began their academic careers on Monday, 28th January. They are both from a township community outside Port Alfred.

Bulelwa matriculated in 2007 and had to immediately find work to support her family. She worked at a resort outside Port Alfred where she climbed the ranks within housekeeping, the kitchen and Front of House. When the time came for her youngest sibling to leave home and go to university, Bulelwa realised that it was time to fulfil her dreams of becoming a graduate in hospitality management. Bulelwa will play an integral part in skills upliftment in her community by introducing hospitality as a career choice among young people in the townships and training them.

Tumelo completed her schooling in 2018, and is eager to follow in her mother’s footsteps, and beyond, by becoming a professional hotelier. Tumelo says she looks forward to discovering her full potential and seeing her dreams realised. She also hopes that becoming a graduate will inspire younger family members to reach their goals.  

AccorHotels acquired a 50% stake in Mantis in April 2018 and one of the results of this partnership was the formation of the Community Conservation Fund Africa. The CCFA is a registered NPC which was initially funded by AccorHotels and Mantis due to their recognition of the urgent need for the tourism industry to play a greater role in conservation and community transformation in Africa.

In addition to the full bursaries, Mantis also give an annual award to a Student showing academic prowess and an interest in improving communities in and around Port Alfred. On Monday, 28th January this award was given to Zimbabwean-born second-year Disaster Management student, Ashley Miller. Ashley showed great commitment to her studies and proved to a reliable team player in her class. Her contribution to community transformation in 2018 showed her up as a deserving candidate for the prize for 2019.


AccorHotels is a world-leading travel & lifestyle group and digital innovator offering unique experiences in more than 4,300 hotels, resorts and residences, as well as in over 10,000 of the finest private homes around the globe. Benefiting from dual expertise as an investor and operator, AccorHotels operates in 100 countries. Its portfolio includes internationally renowned luxury brands such as Raffles, Sofitel Legend, SO Sofitel, Sofitel, Fairmont, onefinestay, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman and Swissôtel, the mid-range boutique hotel brands 25hours, Novotel, Mercure, Mama Shelter and Adagio, and very popular budget brands such as JO&JOE, ibis, ibis Styles and ibis budget, as well as the regional brands Grand Mercure, The Sebel and hotelF1. AccorHotels provides innovative end-to-end services across the entire traveller experience, notably through the acquisition of John Paul, world leader in concierge services. With an unmatched collection of brands and rich history spanning close to five decades, AccorHotels, along with its global team of more than 250,000 dedicated women and men, has a purposeful and heartfelt mission: to make every guest Feel Welcome. Guests enjoy access to one of the world’s most rewarding hotel loyalty programs – Le Club AccorHotels.  

AccorHotels is active in its local communities and committed to sustainable development and solidarity through PLANET 21, a comprehensive program that brings together employees, guests and partners to drive sustainable growth.

Accor SA is publicly listed with shares trading on the Euronext Paris exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and traded in the United States on the OTC market (Ticker: ACRFY) in the United States. For more information and reservations, visit or

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Mantis is born of Africa. Founded by Adrian Gardiner in 2000 with a passion for creating destinations where man and nature could co-exist sustainably. After turning drought ravaged and degraded bushveld into a private conservation success story in the Eastern Cape, South Africa; Adrian’s pioneering spirit lead the growth of the Mantis Collection.

Mantis has unearthed hotels and eco-escapes across all seven continents; in far-flung corners, vibrant cityscapes, across vast African plains, and most places in between. Each with a unique spirit, yet all are linked by a collective obsession to be extraordinary, to nurture the natural environment, and preserve all that is meaningful.

Mantis is a Pioneer that searches for and uncovers new possibilities, and new destinations so that people can have access to more fulfilling lives. In a world of diminishing rarity, we partner with curious explorers who seek to discover truly rare destinations and life-affirming experiences.

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