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The View Guesthouse: Sheila Sekhitla

A former nurse creates a tourist destination for international guests in the heart of tembisa

Juliet Pitman



Sheila Sekhita of The View Guesthouse

Sheila Sekhitla doesn’t believe in doingthings in small measures. This powerhouse of energy was a professional nursebefore she entered the hospitality industry by converting her home in Tembisainto The View Guesthouse. A mother of three who had just lost her husband, shemanaged to build it up into a four-star establishment that now caters tointernational guests and hosts a conferencing venue for 200 people – allwithout funding or experience.

Today, Sekhitla has a string of awards toher name, and was recently appointed to the Board of the Tourism GradingCouncil of South Africa. She was nominated as the secretary of Tembisa Chamberof Commerce in 1994, became General Secretary of NAFCOC Gauteng in 1998 and isthe founding member and chairperson of Tembisa Tourism Association.It is clear that she is daunted by very fewthings; if the obvious solution to a challenge doesn’t work out, Sekhitlasimply finds another one.Take her approach to funding, for example.She couldn’t get the financial sector to finance her business and recalls:“They were nervous about supporting a new business, especially one that waslocated in the heart of a township.” So she made do with what she had in thefamily home to provide for her first guests.

“I used the plates and teaspoons that wehad,” she laughs. But if she started out small and simple,there was one thing Sekhitla never scrimped on – service. “I was so good atcaring for people and providing service excellence that word got around aboutthe guesthouse and people started coming to stay. After about a year, I had alittle bit of money which I used to print some brochures,” she explains,adding: “I reinvested everything back into the business.” She expanded theguesthouse from four rooms to nine and bought the adjacent property toestablish a 200-person conference centre that allowed her to attract corporateclients.She also invested a great deal of time andeffort into educating the local community about the value of tourism. “This wasanother huge challenge. When I started, the local community didn’t understandthe value of tourism so they didn’t support me,” she says. With characteristicdrive, she set about educating her target market, mobilising the community tostart the Tembisa Tourism Association. “I researched all the places of interestin Tembisa and convinced Atlas Buses to give me a bus for the day, which I usedto take 45 community members on a tour of the places of interest.

I wanted toteach them about tourism and show them what Tembisa had to offer,” sheexplains. She also managed to get the then Chairperson of the EnvironmentalAffairs and Tourism Portfolio Committee, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, to attend aseminar to educate the community further. The hard work paid off in huge dividends.Tembisa had a burgeoning tourism industry and The View Guesthouse became sosynonymous with excellence that Sekhitla won the 2002 Emerging TourismEntrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA). “This enabled me to gain access to theoverseas visitors market. The South African Tourism Authority took me to Londonand Germany where I marketed myself to international guests,” she explains.

Success bred success and more awardsfollowed, including the AA Accommodation Award, the Ekhuruleni BusinessInitiative (EBI) Award for Involvement in the Tourism Sector and an Eskom GoldAward for Best Stand at the 2006 Franchise Exhibition. Sekhitla was alsonominated as a torchbearer by the MEC for Tourism and Environmental Affairs.Eventually, the much-needed funding followed in the form of assistance from theGauteng Tourism Authority, the Department of Trade and Industry and the EskomDevelopment Foundation, and Sekhitla managed to secure a small but vitaloverdraft.When asked what her secret is, she answerssimply: “Passion – for people, for service excellence and for the hospitalityindustry lifestyle. You can’t succeed in this industry without passion.”

She now has her sights set firmly on the2010 World Cup and plans to make the most of the tourism opportunities it willbring. “We want to establish a wellness centre and health spa at theguesthouse,” she says. There’s little doubt that this dynamo of business savvyis more than up to the challenge. Contact: +27 11 926 1731;


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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