Township B&B

This Is My Story

GladysMy name is Nomalungelo, but people call me Gladys. Since 1997 I live in Khayelitsha, a township on the east side of Cape Town. I am one of many women living in the townships of South Africa. I have 3 children, Akhona, Asenathi and Asanele. I have been a domestic worker in Cape Town. 

I would like to introduce you to Marijke Frijters, a woman from Holland. For many years she dreamt of working abroad. In july 2008 she decided to realise her dream and came to live and work in Cape Town. On a Saturday in August 2008, I noticed a new tenant in the complex where I work once a week. I decided to ring the bell to ask for work. Knocking at Marijke’s door was the start of not just a working relationship but a very special friendship between her and me. 

In the many conversations Marijke and I had, I told Marijke my life story. How I moved to the Western Cape 13 years ago, as many others did, to search for a job. In November 2008 my husband past away and two months later I found out that I was pregnant. Not only did I share my fears with Marijke, we also talked about my dream.

Gladys in her kitchenFor ten years I was a domestic worker in a bed and breakfast at Green Point.  In that period of time I gained more than just experience, I noticed that tourists are interested in experiencing township life. What I desired most was to open a B&B myself one day. Marijke was inspired by my story and destined to help. We started to explore the possibilities of opening a B&B in the township of Khayelitsha. We worked together following a step by step plan, and so an actual project was born. Marijke, and her network helped to raise money through micro credits (micro credit is an interest free loan). In six months more than 160 shares and vouchers (for a stay at the B&B) were sold. Marijke gave me a daily training to become an entrepreneur. We started searching for a suitable house and found the perfect location when I got in contact with the association of Bed & Breakfasts in Khayelitsha. My new husband Mandla, a plumber, helped with the renovation of the house.

After six months of hard work, renovation and preparation, Lungi’s Township B&B was opened in February 2010.   Marijke and I are 2 different women with totally different backgrounds, different opportunities, different input and knowledge who have bundled their strengths and worked together successfully to make this project happen. We have gotten the support of many people who also believe in this great project, not only to create a better future for me and my children but for our entire neighborhood in "Makhaza".