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Township Guest House

Nikki Rixon/Twenty Ten

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africans nationwide have been asking how the common man will profit from the international FIFA World Cup tournament which will see an estimated 350,000 foreign supporters arriving in the country.

Alina Thonjeni, a 69-year-old single mother to four children, has exactly the sort of entrepreneurial spirit necessary to benefit from the influx of tourists during the soccer tournament. She retired from her job in order to convert her modest but well-kept home in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, into a guesthouse. Her dream is to provide a viable, cost-effective alternative to the mainstream hotels and their massively inflated prices over the next month or so. At a cost of R150 per person per night, this is a realistic hope.

Alina has wide-ranging knowledge about the history of Alexandra, the oldest township in Johannesburg that was established in 1921, and is home to several South African cultural icons, activists and sporting personalities. The hostess plans to serve traditional African food to her guests, and relay her stories and memories of life in a South African township. Visitors will also benefit from first-hand experience of living as many South Africans do.

“I'll meet people from all over the world, and I want to make them feel welcome. I can provide a unique experience for tourists visiting our country,” Alina says.

So far two Dutch supporters have stayed at her guest house, but she has no advance bookings to speak of.

The South African...

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