Editorial Comment

Cover Story August 2016

Our August edition front cover reflects the happy disposition of staff members at Lentaba Safari Lodge, located in the Lalibela Game Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. A fitting image considering that South Africa celebrates National Women’s Day on 9 August.

On this day, 54 years ago, more than 20 000 South African women of all races staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950, commonly referred to as the “pass laws”. The women stood silently for 30 minutes and then started singing a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock). This incarnation has since come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa (read more here).

It was not until the introduction of the Constitution of Human Rights in 1996 that all women in this country were recognized formally as equal citizens. In this Constitution, a special paragraph for women, titled ‘Equality’ states that you may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds. But today South African women still have to contend with high rates of unemployment, rape and domestic violence (read more here).

Although unquantified, (I’d be interested to know if any tourism academics have researched this) the South African hospitality industry has certainly played a significant role in addressing the imbalance of employment and career advancement opportunities for women.

Like most rural enterprises, Lalibela Game Reserve by way of example, plays a vital role in the upliftment of rural women. Traditionally, rural women were restricted to menial employment opportunities, which often meant that they migrated to the cities, which in turn lead to breaking up families as children were left behind with grandparents. Being one of the largest employers between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, and being able to offer career opportunities for women, means that Lalibela has played a significant role in the upliftment of rural women since it first opened in 2002.

The recent sale of Lalibela Game Reserve, which has resulted in the purchase of significant additional land, and the establishment of a new 10-bed tented camp, due to open in mid-October, will create still more opportunities for women in the surrounding rural communities (read more here).

On the subject of remembrance days, in August we also celebrate World Lion Day on the 10th, and in this edition we look at the unprecedented global awareness that the death of Cecil the lion created for conservation in Africa (read more here).

Keeping to the topics of hospitality and conservation, Ben Coley of Bushwise Training delves into the role of Field Guides in the business section (read more here).

Enjoy your read − feedback is appreciated.

Yours in Tourism,
Des Langkilde. Editor.

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