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Name: Holiday Inn Soweto
Use: Hotel
Floors: 2
Status: Opens October 2007
Location: Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto


Holiday Inn Soweto, New Hotel in Kliptown is set to give Tourism in Soweto a Major Boost

18 Oct 2007 - Freedom Square Hotel (Pty) Limited -

Holiday Inn Soweto is Soweto’s first international four-star hotel. The 48-room Holiday Inn at Walter Sisulu Square, Kliptown will make South African history in October 2007 when it opens its doors for business

Holiday Inn Soweto owned by Freedom Square Hotel (Pty) Limited, is a consortium of leading business and leisure shareholders. Mr Abbey Chikane is the chairperson, Zatic Hotels & Resorts is in charge of development and operations, together with Mr Peter Mbuli from the Ipelegeng Youth Development Programme

Built at a cost of R23.4-million, the hotel will add a new tourist offering to Soweto. Walter Sisulu Square is a mixed-use precinct initiated by the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC). The Kliptown project comprises the hotel, the recently opened Kliptown Museum, retail, restaurant and office space as well as an informal trading area. The JPC have signed a 10-year lease with empowerment group Zatic Hotels & Resorts to operate the hotel.

The hotel was part of the original Walter Sisulu architectural design by Studio Mass. Mark Pitchers from RSL has designed within the existing structure. The Hotel is an ultra-modern design style forming the centrepiece of the revival of Kliptown.

The Hotel interiors are decorated in an avant-garde style by designer Lauren Beckwith and Fani Makanya from Black Moon Design Studio. Black Moon was also responsible for the Table Bay Hotel refurbishment and the new Sibaya hotel in Kwa Zulu Natal. The rooms are an eclectic blend of modern and old. Formica combines with Egyptian cotton and Alf Khumalo’s DRUM period photographs adorn the walls as do expressive embroidered art by one of the local Soweto Co-op artists.

“The Holiday Inn Soweto will offer 48 rooms, including two suites, 2 executive boardrooms, and a funky jazz restaurant. The weekend room rate is R1 380 for a double room,” says Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, CEO, Zatic Hotels & Resorts.

For the community, this project gives a sense of hope to the people and new opportunities," says Peter Mbuli.

"The inauguration of the hotel will create between 34 and 38 permanent jobs and numerous opportunities will also be created through procurement of services from businesses based in Soweto," says Sangweni-Siddo. "But, above all, our job will be to train young people from this community who want to enter the hospitality sector," she says.

Additionally, during construction of the hotel, the project team followed a BEE procurement policy and the professional team was fully black empowered.

“Contractors employed had to use local labour and 80% of the workforce has come from SMME’s based in Soweto. R14,5-million has been spent on the construction and 50% of this amount has been paid to local subcontractors and labour,” says Sangweni-Siddo.

“A community trust, Mus’ukulinda Amathuba Trust has been set up by the shareholders of the hotel. Once the hotel shows dividends the trust will benefit. We aim to support, women’s groups, churches, the disabled and youth organisations. As trustees we will also actively seek grants, donations and bursaries from other organisations,” says Sangweni-Siddo.

The new Soweto hotel is Holiday Inn’s re-entry into the SA market. The Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) has identified Zatic as new partners.

“Our strategic intent is to develop, own and/or manage hotels and resorts that are strategically located, economically viable, in South Africa especially in underdeveloped urban locations such as Soweto, and on the African Continent, using Zatic Hotels and Resorts management skills and expertise, and the strength of the InterContinental Hotels Groups’ brands,” says Sangweni-Siddo

It is estimated that over 200 000 visitors tour the township every year. They come to see the famous Vilakazi Street - the only street in the world where two Nobel Prize winners, anti-apartheid icons Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, have lived. They also tour the Hector Petersen memorial and Walter Sisulu Square.

Kliptown was established in 1903 and is the oldest suburb in Soweto. It became famous in 1955 when thousands of people from various anti-apartheid organisations converged on the square to agree on a draft Freedom Charter.

Today, the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication is a testament to freedom. It's situated behind a busy row of shops in Union Road in Kliptown and is straddled by various hawkers’ stalls - cages of live chickens, untidy bundles of clothing and brightly coloured vegetable stalls lend the square a distinctive township buzz. It is a safe area and easily accessible from the Golden Highway. Additional police presence and a private security company will ensure the safety of hotel guests.

A ‘winding snake’ walkway of indigenous thorn trees was planted on the Square in 2003, representing the queues of people waiting to cast their first vote in 1994. In the centre of the square is the Freedom Charter Monument where the Flame of Freedom blazes.

Half a century ago, on 26 June 1955, over 3 000 representatives of resistance organisations made their way through police cordons to gather on a dusty square in Kliptown, Soweto, 40km south of Johannesburg.

This was the Congress of the People, who met to draw up the Freedom Charter, an alternative vision to the repressive policies of the apartheid state. At the time, Nelson Mandela had to stay concealed to avoid the police. On the second day, the authorities broke up the illegal gathering, but not before the charter was adopted as a guiding document. It remains the cornerstone of ANC policy to this day, and is seen by many as the foundation of South Africa's 1996 Constitution.

That dusty field, now Walter Sisulu Square, is a national heritage site and home to one of the most historic Art shops in Johannesburg. Capello Restaurant chain will soon open a restaurant and the Kliptown Museum has already opened its doors.

With its history, it is hoped that Kliptown will become "a world-class tourist destination and heritage site offering local and international visitors a unique experience.

The Holiday Inn Soweto is set to change the face of Soweto and give tourism a major boost.
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