Quad-bik­ing brothers shake off Soweto dust

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page - Sihle Manda

AN AD­VEN­TURE com­pany is show­ing peo­ple that town­ship tourism is pos­si­ble.

Soweto Out­door Ad­ven­tures has de­vel­oped into a thriv­ing ex­am­ple of South Africa’s vi­brant cul­ture.

In 2010, brothers Sup­ing and Kgo­motso Pooe, born and bred in Or­lando East, Soweto, gath­ered the courage to re­sign from their day jobs to start a quad bike ven­ture in the town­ship.

With friends and fam­ily as first clients, they set up of­fice in a cor­ru­gated iron shack be­hind the town­ship’s iconic de­com­mis­sioned coal­fired power sta­tions. To­day, Soweto Out­door Ad­ven­tures is at­tract­ing vis­i­tors from all walks of life.

Sup­ing said they re­alised that peo­ple had to leave Soweto to have fun. “You’d come to Soweto to visit your grand­par­ents and then get bored in the hood.”

They de­cided to cre­ate an ex­pe­ri­ence that would help change young­sters’ per­cep­tion of the town­ship.

Soweto Out­door Ad­ven­tures is pas­sion­ate about Soweto and about of­fer­ing ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties, not tra­di­tion­ally ex­pected in a town­ship set­ting, to this thriv­ing com­mu­nity.

Ev­ery year, new ac­tiv­i­ties are added and while quad bik­ing re­mains the main at­trac­tion, the es­tab­lish­ment added paint­balling, go-cart­ing, boot camps and speed boat­ing.

The brothers even of­fer guided tours, quirk­ily ti­tled ‘Sowe­too’, across the town­ship and the coun­try.

Like any bud­ding busi­ness, Soweto Out­door Ad­ven­tures had to clear hur­dles in its path to suc­cess. The big­gest was a lack of fund­ing. “We had to dig into our own pock­ets,” said Sup­ing.

The brothers now em­ploy 23 peo­ple, with an­other seven sea­sonal staff mem­bers join­ing the team in De­cem­ber.

He ad­vised en­trepreneurs to be re­silient and bear the hard­ships.

“They need to bear the win­ters; the win­ters can get cold and that’s when most peo­ple throw in the towel. We can go for a month or two with no cash flow. That is when it gets tricky and you have to de­cide whether you stay for your dream or you fold and go back to the cor­po­rate world,” he said.

Sup­ing Pooe is pas­sion­ate about Soweto and of­fers vis­i­tors ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties not tra­di­tion­ally ex­pected in a town­ship.

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