Tomorrow’s Hope: Lebo Malepa

Founder: Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers

Why is Lebo considered to be Tomorrow’s Hope?

Lebo Malepa is one of those young, passionate South Africans who are extremely proud of where they come from and want to share their vision with others.

When Lebo was selling African crafts outside the Hector Pieterson Museum back in 2002, he was also selling tourists on the many attractions of Soweto and its rich cultural surrounds.

What sets Lebo apart is that, instead of being saddened by the busloads of tourists being whisked in and out of South Africa’s biggest township with only a few pictures and museum brochures in hand, he saw an opportunity to offer a more “real” Soweto experience.

It wasn’t long before Lebo had ditched the crafts and opened a place where tourists can experience Soweto as a living museum of the country’s rich history and culture.

In his own words.

“Being around different people from different countries telling you how much they love South Africa makes you realise how special I am to be living in this country.”

Fast Facts

  • Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers is run by Lebo Malepa and his life/business partner, Maria Westlund.
  • The backpackers was originally Lebo’s grandmother’s house.
  • Lebo won an Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur Award in 2007.
  • The backpackers is within walking distance of the Hector Pieterson Museum and Orlando Stadium, which is currently under reconstruction as a training venue for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
  • The backpackers offers a variety of walking and bicycle tours of Soweto.
  • The backpackers works closely with a network of organisations and projects in the area, like orphanages, youth clubs and schools, and makes it possible for guests to spend time at or donate goods to these initiatives.

How can I experience Soweto?

If you want to experience Soweto life first-hand, Lebo is sure to have a walking/cycling tour or event to suit your needs. Visit Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers.

Contact Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers
Tel: 011 936 3444
Cell: 084 851 8681
E-mail: lebo@sowetobackpackers.co.za

Story published on SAinfo on 4 June 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa