In celebration of Tourism Month in September, Mantis envisioned giving 1 000 children from the township of Motherwell in Port Elizabeth experiences that would expose them to tourism and conservation. As part of their initiative, a cleanup campaign named “Chola nono, Coca Mhlali”, which loosely translates to “pick up & clean it up”, was initiated on Friday, 28th of September.
The Chola Nono, Coca Mhlali by Mantis campaign kicked off with a clean-up of Addo Road on Friday. The purpose of this campaign is to instil a paradigm shift in disadvantaged scholars through environmental and educational programmes, as well as active participation in keeping their communities clean.
Mantis Collection partnered up with Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to carry out the cleaning initiative on Addo Road [R355], which is a popular route for tourists to take to Addo Elephant National Park. However, it is littered with plastic and rubbish that blows in from the adjacent community. This initiative aims to create awareness on the importance of the tourism industry, in particular to children at schools in Ward 54 and Ward 55 of Motherwell – the communities that lie adjacent to the road to Addo Elephant Park.
Over 800 grade 5, 8 and 9 learners from Imbasa Primary School, Melisizwe Primary School, Ncedo Secondary School and Mfesane High School arrived at the meeting point, which was Imbasa Primary in NU12, Motherwell at 07:30 on Friday morning. The Mantis Collection and Twizza provided fruit and water on arrival, and the children were equipped with safety gloves and masks which were sponsored by Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency. The scholars then set off to their demarcated cleaning zones along the R355 and R344 roads. Traffic Services and Sector Policing Forums were present in their numbers to keep everybody safe. The pupils collected a truckload of rubbish which will be sorted for recycling purposes.
While the clean-up was taking place at Addo Road, a march-and-drill team from Melisizwe Primary School paraded through the community accompanied by South African Police Service volunteers holding crucial ‘do not litter’ messages.
After the clean-up, all children and volunteers were transported to the Community Hall where Mantis provided lunch and refreshments, and the educational part of the programme took place. The MC was a talented local speaker and radio host, Tasco Festile, who kept everybody engaged and entertained. The children were also treated to music by a local DJ, and a praise singer and a play by Mfesane High School. Professional speakers addressed the pupils about environmental awareness, personal health, recycling, waste prevention, and tourism. The afternoon ended with public speaking presentations from the junior schools and a debate between the senior schools which also revolved around these crucial social issues.
The seniors’ debate was won by Mfesane High School, and the five debating champions and their educator were awarded a 2-night stay at Fish River Resort by Mantis. The runners-up from Ncedo Secondary School all received Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism Passes to experience various tourist attractions around The Bay. All the pupils that participated in the clean-up will receive free day trips to Addo Elephant National Park.
Motherwell is an impoverished part of Nelson Mandela Bay. Therefore, the children in this area are unlikely to have had access to tourism experiences and are unaware of the benefit that the tourism can have on society. The Chola Nono, Coca Mhlali campaign aims to educate the youth on the impact of littering and recycling, encourage the youth to ‘do tourism’ as well as give the children an opportunity to experience tourism first hand.
When announcing this initiative at the Mantis Fundraising Gala for that Mandela Metro Art Museum on Thursday 27th September, Adrian Gardiner (Chairman of Mantis) said “on a recent trip to Rwanda I was incredibly inspired by how clean the country is. The president and all his people take time to pick up litter and ensure that every public space is free of plastic. The African continent can learn a lot from Rwanda, and we at Mantis, are paying attention and replicating their environmental practice in Port Elizabeth, the home of our headquarters”.
The Clean-up was made possible by various stakeholders who have made generous contributions to ensure that the pupils receive food, refreshments, and safe, fun learning experience. Sponsors include Addo Elephant National Park, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, Mpact, Shoprite, Twizza, and the Mandela Bay Development Agency.
ABOUT MANTIS: Mantis is a collection of hotels, and eco escapes founded and operating in Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay. Founded by Adrian Gardiner in 2000, Mantis manages and markets over 80 properties on all seven continents of the world. The Mantis acronym Man And Nature Together Is Sustainable communicates the company’s ethos. We aim to develop hotels and eco escapes that are sensitive to the places in which they are located, and pay homage to the surrounding environment and communities.