South Africa’s oldest black-empowered tourism company is rebranding. Thebe Tourism Group, which was once part of the stable of companies under the investment firm, Thebe Investment Corporation, has changed its name to Motsamayi Tourism Group.
Earlier this year, the executive management team of the company – consisting of ceo, Jerry Mabena; coo, Brett Hendricks; cfo, Cobus du Plessis and cmo Judiet Barnes – announced a buyout from the former owner, made possible through an investment by Futuregrowth. The rebranding follows this.
Jerry said, through this new brand identity, the management team intended to foster purposeful travel among both local and international travellers to South Africa. “This is an exciting chapter for us. And we are truly thankful to our partner, Futuregrowth, who, through this investment, has demonstrated its alignment with what we see as the true potential of the country’s tourism industry, even during a pandemic that has halted virtually all forms of travel.
“It is our belief that this industry is key to economic growth and sustainability, as believed by our founding fathers. We take this opportunity to continue this work with our new identity.”
Jerry added that the company’s journey started many years ago and, although the change of identity meant a completely new chapter for the company, what it stood for remained. “The company has always been about building communities and creating jobs, especially for a demographic with a history of disadvantage.”
Head of Futuregrowth Unlisted Equity Transactions, Amrish Narrandes, said it was this “formidable history and a sustainable outlook” that informed Futuregrowth’s decision to partner with the management team in the form of investment.
“We also appreciate the fact that South Africa boasts one of the most vibrant tourism sectors in the world, and we are thus confident that the industry will rebound and continue to grow in the post-pandemic environment, which the whole world is working towards,” he added.
Motsamayi Tourism Group’s portfolio includes Cape Point, Kruger Shalati The Train on the Bridge in Kruger National Park, and the soon-to-be-launched Sanctuary Mandela.
Sanctuary Mandela, in Houghton, Johannesburg, was the private residence of Mandela and has been re-envisioned as an iconic hospitality residence featuring nine bedrooms, lush gardens and curated exhibits.
“As the country confronts the challenges that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic, our hope as the executive team at Motsamayi Tourism Group, together with our partners, is that the work we have begun will contribute towards the recovery and growth of our economy and create much-needed employment opportunities, especially for young people,” Jerry said.
The company was originally founded as part of the stable that was established by Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Beyers Naude, and Dr Enos Mabuza, to foster economic transformation in South Africa.
The company’s new brand identity is inspired by Madiba himself. He was known to have disguised himself as a chauffeur, a gardener, and a chef in order to travel around the country unnoticed by the authorities in pre-democratic South Africa going under the name, David Motsamayi (which means ‘one who travels’ in Sesotho).