On the evening of the 14 November 2019, a packed room of Tourism Entrepreneurs and their friends and family gathered in Cape Town to celebrate the graduation of the most recent class of the Airbnb Africa Academy programme. They were hosted by the Academy team in Africa and joined by partner organisation ABCD Concepts and special guest, Councillor Anda Ntsodo, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.
Councillor Anda Ntsodo, Chairperson of the City of Cape Town’s Economic Opportunities and Asset Management Portfolio Committee said:
“Initiatives like the Airbnb Africa Academy endorse excellence and create exceptional learning experiences.
This programme in many instances speaks to the city’s vision of creating an inclusive tourism landscape. With these features, we are able to convert an attractive destination into an inspiring destination.”
The graduation was the culmination of three months of hard work from the 38 participating Tourism Entrepreneurs, which began with a two-day immersive training in Cape Town in July. The graduands travelled from over 12 communities across the Western Cape, including Langa, Khayelitsha, Bokaap, Kayamandi, Gugulethu and Rondebosch.
As part of the training, Tourism Entrepreneurs received in-person training support from partner organisation ABCD Concepts – a lifestyle marketing tourism start-up based in the heart of Khayelitsha – as well as incentives such as professional photography, first aid kits and fire alarms to help kick-start the hosting journey on the platform.
The celebration opened on a lively note with song and dance. The first address was delivered by Velma Corcoran, Country Manager for Sub Saharan Africa at Airbnb.
“I feel so proud to be part of this gathering and to be able to see how the Airbnb Africa Academy has evolved and the wonderful hosts that have come out of the AAA, who literally represent the best of hosts on Airbnb, and who we learn so much from on a daily basis.”
The festivities continued with one of the graduates, Stoan hosting his new dance Experience ‘Move to the township rhythm’ for all in attendance. There were smiles all round and an infectious energy in the room as the Africa Academy team, participants and friends, family and guests all danced together.
The attendees also received hosting tips and inspiration from Experience host Faldela, who lists a Cape Malay cooking Experience on the platform, and Homes Host Thamo; each shared about their journey so far and the keys to their success.
The Africa Academy team also celebrated past participants of the Airbnb Africa Academy in attendance, many of whom have recently been featured in the Airbnb Faces of Tourism exhibition in Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.
The Faces exhibition highlights the 12 diverse narratives of entrepreneurs based in locations such as Soweto, a township of Johannesburg; Kayamandi, a suburb of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape; and Khayelitsha, a township, also in the Western Cape.
The Academy is an intensive host-success programme focused on supporting people from under-resourced communities across Africa succeed on Airbnb as Homes and Experience Hosts. 68 people have received in-person training and follow- up support as part of the new Airbnb Africa Academy programme in 2019.
Thamo, a home host in Somerset who attended the event, said:
“I have so been looking forward to this evening, and honestly, I didn’t expect that at the end of the programme that we would have a graduation. It’s so well planned and so heartwarming and humbling to see that what we are doing is being taken so seriously. It was so nice to meet the others again who attended the programme.”
With an aim to scale to other countries in Africa in 2019, the programme was officially branded the Airbnb Africa Academy and a dedicated team was established in South Africa focused on testing new approaches and strengthening the programme through partnerships.
ABCD Concepts founders Buntu Matole and Ayanda Cuba were two of the very first hosts in South Africa to list their Experiences on Airbnb over three years ago. Buntu Matole said:
“It was a privilege and honour to be standing in front of the people who I saw having a desire and hunger to be part of the platform and the Academy. It is quite delightful to be one of the people who was there to present to them on stage.
Already some of them might not have known that the opportunity was right in their hands until they had their first bookings. Then automatically it switched on: ‘I have potential to make a living from my cell phone that I just use to make phone calls’.
I am honoured to be part of their journey.”