Uthando had the great pleasure of hosting Professor Kerstin Heuwinkel from Germany on an excursion on 8 April, she subsequently sent the following blog post on her experience with Uthando.
Future of Tourism?! Community-based tourism in Cape Town
“Academic papers on community-based tourism and strategic tourism management are one story. To stand in a garden built on the sandy soils by 70 years old who believe in social change and uplift through tourism – is quite different.”
During her sabbatical, Prof Dr Kerstin Heuwinkel (University of Applied Sciences Saarbrücken, htw saar, Germany) focussed on community-based tourism, i.e. tourism that not only includes local communities but understands community members and projects as central drivers of tourism.
Thanks to her colleagues, Wiebke Nedel from Educo Africa and Peter Kraan from TSIBA Business School, Kerstin Heuwinkel got in touch with different NGOs that organise excursions to communities. Those tours are often referred to as township tours. But, the expression township is misleading as it highlights aspects such as poverty, crime, hate, and despair. Undoubtedly, these issues exist and no one should naively visit Khayelitsha, Langa, or Mitchells Plain, but the focus should be on those people and projects that actively fight poverty, crime, lack of education etc. Instead of feeling sorry, one should be impressed by the power and creativity that can be found when resources such as material, money, water, energy, as well as skills, and knowledge are available. And – one important financial source or catalyst (James Fernie, Uthandosa) is tourism.
During her stay in Cape Town in April 2022 Kerstin Heuwinkel visited Uthando. Uthando (Love) South Africa is a Fair Trade in Tourism certified non-profit organisation. James Fernie, founding Director of Uthando and social entrepreneur, and Kerstin Heuwinkel met in the Uthando office in Claremont, Kapstadt. They talked about their understanding of responsible tourism and found many similarities. James has coined the term travelling philanthropy which is a very intelligent and elegant way to address the aforementioned dilemma of “township tourism”. In the following weeks, they will find out how Uthando as an NPO and htw saar as an academic institution might cooperate.
“I am sure that Uthando (Love) South Africa will be a perfect partner for our tourism programme. They are very careful about how they organise encounters between locals and tourists. No private homes are visited and the involvement of children is limited.”
After the meeting, Xolani Maseko (Philanthropic Guide) took Kerstin Heuwinkel to nine different projects to illustrate the variety of the supported community and social entrepreneur projects. Examples were a foundation to honour all young men and women who lost their lives to violent crime, an organic gardening project, a senior project, a school building project (built of old tires, plastic bottles, and clay) and a choir.
“My highlight was chatting with some 70plus women about German summer and their wish to travel to Paris.”
After two years of travel restrictions, people start travelling again. Many are planning their dream journey – this dream should include respect for the world. Long-distance flights should include compensation and guarantee that international companies are not the only ones that benefit.
Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft des Saarlandes
University of Applied Sciences
Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Heuwinkel