Michelle Lencoe finally turned her dream into a reality when she guided her first township tour in Sedgefield on Tuesday as Li Themba Crafts and Tours. Her tour takes you through her home township of Smutsville in Sedgefield and shows you all the hidden gems the neibourhood has to offer.
Michelle, who was employed years back at the Sedgefield Tourism Office, finally became a South African tour guide in 2015.
She took a year off to take on the physically challenging task of certifying to become a local lifeguard and helped keep our beaches safe during the Christmas holidays.
Always the over achiever Michelle has been selected to go on a SME speed market mentorship for representing Sedgefield at 2017 Tourism Indaba in Durban. As her mentor Charmaine Beukes explained when she did her presentation to win a place in the Durban Tourism Indaba, her passion for her home town Sedgefield was more than evident.
Her Mentor Charmaine Beukes joined by Juanita Nel, Rock the Route, Heine, Travelbug Rose, another local travel guide Beaulinda Meyering as well as myself the Sedgefield Tourism Manager were invited to join Michelle on Tuesday for her first guided tour of Smutsville Sedgefield.
We all jumped into a local taxi and to start were taken to the spectulour panoramic view of Sedgefield from view point cloud 9 where Smustville was pointed out to us from a bird’s eye.
Thereafter we drove along a portion of the local slow tourism route until we reached the township of Smutsville.
Our first stop was Fresh Start whose main aim is to empower people to make a fresh start in their life. The shop is located at the Sedgefield Primary School in Smutsville, here children are encouraged to exchange recyclable material for “mula” points and trade these points for new and second hand goods.
Then we went to meet Antie Mina who does upcycling with fruit juice boxes which she turns into beautiful bags. Her sewing machine an antique Frick make was found by Rejoice Gawie who used to work at the recycling centre and gifted it to Grateful Antie Mina. After a repair of R250 the machine is still hard working after 13 years.
Our next stop takes us to a local crèche Little Teddies where we are greeted with smiles and serenaded in song.
From there we amazed by the works of art by the Smutville beaders who create ethnic beaded jewels.
The tour showed us how the township of Smutsville is bursting with artistic talent and cultural entrepreneurship.
With Michelle’s vision of changing the lives of those in her community we are excited to see this ladies passion “for life” continue to grow into big things.