Mixed reactions on township tours

Township tours empowering or perpetuating stereotypes?

16 June 2015 - Township tours claim to offer an authentic South African experience

JOHANNESBURG: Having emerged after the fall of the apartheid regime in 1994, township tours claim to offer an authentic South African experience, with critics saying they promote tired stereotypes.

Many tourists come to visit South African townships as part of their holiday itinerary.

However, others say they empower the poor and bring lasting change.

Artist Khanyisile Mbongwa said, “There is ethical problems with township tours because there is a lack of information exchange. One person comes in, gets whatever they get but people that they have come to see or view don’t get anything back.”

CEO, Cape Town Tourism Enver Duminy said, “Township tours emerged after the fall of apartheid in 1994 and this came about as a mixture of a few things. It was of course the freedom that we have but also the interest, people wanting to know more about destinations. They want to get into the heart and soul of communities.

Africa Root Tours Owen Jinka said, “Some tour guides are doing a lot of damage to our country where they share a lot of negatives about the townships.”

“The positives about township tours have got to be marketed,” he added.

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