“We enjoyed sharing an African family’s life. We feel we’ve learnt more during this weekend than during the rest of the holiday. Everyone in the family but also around and even in the street was extremely welcoming and all the family, particularly Mam K’ was totally available to us with a real desire to satisfy all our wishes. This has been for us a genuine encounter and made us feel alive as individuals not mere tourists. We would like Mam’ K to feel that she certainly is more than up to the task. Not only is her matchbox house spotlessly clean and ever so cozy, her meals are gorgeous and her quality to relate to others quite unique. ”
Phaphama Initiatives’ TALK Tourism provides you with the opportunity to meet and stay with local people, experiencing their way of life. In home-stays in Soweto, ranging in duration from one night to a month or longer, you will begin to get a feel for urban African life in South Africa today. Where often a day-tour or an overnight stay in a hotel leaves one feeling as if one would have liked more contact with the people who live in the area, this experience gives you a chance to really connect to the people and families that host you.
The home you stay in has not been “adapted” for visitors. While some homes may be larger or have more amenities than others, these are real Sowetan homes, which the family opens to anyone wishing to become part of the family. As such, while the family will do their best to take care of your comfort and special needs, you will not be treated like a visitor who is waited upon and kept at arm’s length. Instead, you will have the opportunity to integrate into family life as you get to know the members of the family – and the neighbourhood – and as you participate in daily tasks.
By eating the family food that is normally eaten, by washing in the traditional way (most homes in Soweto do not have bathrooms), by walking around the neighbourhood and by having conversations with elders, adults and children, you will begin to get an insider-view of the community, their culture and their way of life. In the process, you will also be sharing about yourself and forming new relationships that often become the foundation of long-lasting friendships and other exchanges.
This is community-based tourism at its best: a meeting of people who leave one another having both given and received in ways which uphold personal and cultural dignity.