“sisonke singenza amalukho - together we can make a difference”
We took a drive out the other day along the stunning coastal road from Muizenberg to Monwabisi Park in Khayelitsha, to visit the remarkable and unique Makazi’s Guesthouse. This little hidden gem is located in one of Cape Town’s sprawling informal settlements, and just a few hundred metres from the False Bay coast (in fact, you can see the ocean from the second story bedroom windows). Makazi’s forms part of the Indlovu Project, a community development initiative of the Shaster Foundation. The project was started in 2005 by Di Womersley and Buyiswa Tonono in order to offer care and empowerment opportunities to the residents of Monwabisi Park, and in the long run establish a sustainable eco-village in the township. The community centre consists of a clinic, a youth centre, an education centre, a skills development workshop, a large community hall that also doubles as a cinema, a small shop and a creche. In order to make the project self-sustainable, a volunteer organisation and Makazi’s Guesthouse was established to bring not only income, but also skilled volunteers into the community.
Creative recycling and energy conservation forms an integral part of the Indlovu Projects philosophy, and all the buildings were constructed by the local community using sandbags and eco-beams. Lucia Brain was responsible for the colourful ‘township chic’ style interior of the guesthouse, and she has transformed ordinary objects into quirky accessories and furniture. Watering cans and buckets have been recycled to become interesting lampshades and stacked pallets serve as a coffee table. Solar power heats the water, al the appliances run on gas and the toilet system uses earthworms. To showcase the construction method used, a ‘truth window’ was installed in the living area to expose the sandbags and eco-beams.
Makazi’s has 3 bedrooms, all colourfully decorated with shweshwe prints and local crafts. The ‘President’s Suite’ has a double bed and en suite bathroom (shower only) The ‘Induna’ room has twin beds, a marvellous view of Table Mountain and en suite shower room. The dorm room sleeps 6 in bunk beds, has an en suite shower room as well as sea and mountain views as far as the eye can see. All beds have feather duvets, hot water bottles and good quality linen. Rooms are booked on a Dinner, Bed & Breakfast basis and range from R250 – R450 per person per night.
Mama Hazel is the hostess at Makazi’s and prepares delicious traditional Xhosa meals for all guests. The guesthouse will soon be using fresh ingredients from their own organic veggie patch onsite. All income from the guest house is used to fund the soup kitchen that serves hundreds of people a week, the community clinic and the youth learning centre.
The verdict - Makazi’s is perfect for travelers who want to be inspired by a different side of Cape Town, meet the locals and experience an example of a sustainable lifestyle in an informal settlement. This is a very real experience and not dressed up for tourism, although a lot of effort has been made to make guests’ stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Makazi’s can easily be incorporated into any Cape Town itinerary. Combine your overnight in Khayelitsha with a guided tour of the neighbourhood, and continue along the scenic False Bay drive to Simon’s Town and Cape Point. If you would like to visit Makazi’s Guesthouse you can contact us to arrange your stay, transfers to the guesthouse, and activities in the area.
Please note: We have been informed that Makazi’s Guesthouse is not operational at the moment until further notice. 8 December 2011.