Mzansi …. a country of endless possibilities!Thomas Kwenaite
By Mandla Dladla and Andile Dladla
There are two distinctive landmarks that are identified with Soweto township and have become popular tourists attractions thanks to a large extend to the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament that was staged in the country.
The two gigantic towers are awash with eye-catching graffiti which vividly captures the spirit of the historical township in the south of Johannesburg where graphically displayed on the towers are the powerful words brightly emblazoned: “We are Soweto and Soweto is in us!”
Although Soweto had always been considered the heart-beat of the country, which some people described as the nerve centre of the country which when it sneezes, every corner of this beautiful country catches a cold, the 2010 FIFA football fiesta brought with it a large number of tourists wishing to experience the vibrancy of the township.
Some had been attracted by the fact that it is the only township in the world where two Nobel Prize winners – Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu – stayed along Vilakazi Street which has now become world famous with countless restaurants serving traditional cuisine now lining the famous street.
It was not just for football only that tourists came into the country to see but the aura, the mystery, the lure and the general beauty accentuated by mother Africa and the heart-beat of its famous township are some of the attractions that lures visitors to experience the wonderful activities that Mzansi has to offer.
When one drives into this fascinating and historic township of Soweto along Orlando West, you can’t help but notice these two gigantic twin towers with bright colours that reflect the beauty that is Soweto in art form.
But after the tournament the number of people partaking in activities such Bungee Jumping, Scad Freefall or Pin Balling have more than tripled by adrenalin junkies who get their kick out of falling 100-m from the top of the towers with a safety rope tied around their bodies.
And currently the Orlando Towers is seeing a rise in the number of tourists and football loving fans and families who are visiting the place in greater numbers.
Lawrence Sithole who is the site manager at the Towers says the 2010 FIFA tournament brought in a record number of tourists which was good for business because it also increased the number of young people getting employed and even having opportunities to study further.
“There are a lot of athletes that visit here at Orlando Towers,” says Sithole. “The other day the Kaizer Chiefs captain (Itumeleng Khune) visited as well as the Lions rugby team not to mention countless sport personalities who bring their friends and families for the Bungy jump.”
There was a Futsal soccer team that we used to sponsor here at Orlando and they utilized our facilities. We also hosted a very successful tournament on 16 June.
However, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected attendance and although the number of visitors decreased significantly, he is thankful that they soldiered on and did not have to close down the business and in addition, they have managed to keep all their staff.
Sithole revealed that in addition to the various activities at the Orlando Towers, there is also Quad biking that is also offered and for peace of mind, Sithole said they have a well-trained staff in first aid in case of an emergency.