Lala Khona is a home away from home

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

A KWAZULU-NATAL woman has earned her stripes in the hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

Agap in the mar­ket and a love for tourism mo­ti­vated Busi Ma­landa to open a lodge in the small vil­lage of Umz­imkhulu in KwaZulu-Natal and more re­cently an­other es­tab­lish­ment in Mar­gate.

Ma­landa (65) said while she was work­ing as a teacher years ago she had an op­por­tu­nity to visit a ho­tel and she fell in love with the hospi­tal­ity sec­tor.

“In 2011 I bought a site and built a lodge in Umz­imkhulu, named Lala Khona, which means ‘sleep there’,” she said, ex­plain­ing that vis­i­tors to the vil­lage pre­vi­ously had to travel over an hour to find lodg­ing.

Lala Khona Umz­imkhulu is a three-star lodge that boast 20 en-suite be­d­rooms while Lala Khona Mar­gate has eight en­suite be­d­rooms and sea views. Ma­landa told Vuk’uzen­zele that when she started in 2011, she dis­cov­ered that she loved min­gling with guests.

“My guests would ask me about the his­tory of Umz­imkhulu and I would gladly share our rich his­tory and cus­toms,” she said, ex­plain­ing that Umz­imkhulu is fa­mous for its large Bhaca clan.

She is proud that Lala Khona is con­sid­ered a home away from home for her guests.

Ma­landa said things were not easy when she started her busi­ness and she bat­tled to se­cure a bank loan be­cause of a lack of surety.

She beat the odds, how­ever, and to­day her lodges are well sup­ported.

Ma­landa re­ceived valu­able hospi­tal­ity train­ing from the Na­tional Depart­ment of Tourism’s Tourism En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship and from the pro­vin­cial Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs.

The lessons that Ma­landa learned are ev­i­dent in the el­e­gant dé­cor at Lala Khona, the warm hospi­tal­ity of­fered to guests and the hearty food. Ma­landa was al­ready a trained chef when she bought the Mar­gate prop­erty and has passed on her knowl­edge and culi­nary skills to her staff.

Lala Khona em­ploys nine peo­ple; six in Umz­imkhulu and three in Mar­gate.

She at­tributes her suc­cess to hard work. “I wake up early and go to sleep very late be­cause I be­lieve that for a busi­ness to be suc­cess­ful, it needs hands-on at­ten­tion,” said Ma­landa, who spends four days at the new B&B in Mar­gate and three days in Umz­imkhulu to en­sure they both prop­er­ties ben­e­fit from her ex­per­tise.

Busi Ma­landa be­lieves that for a busi­ness to be suc­cess­ful it needs hands-on at­ten­tion.

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