Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
MOTIVATED by the desire to change the face of his rural home in Makakavhule, Beitbridge District, Matabeleland South, Mr Prison Ndou (46), has transformed his home into an outstanding and cost-effective tourism facility.
Located along the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Road, Ha-Bangale Leisure Centre offers a refreshing atmosphere in a serene environment, away from the hustle and bustle of the border town.
The facility, which was opened just before the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020, has become an instant hit among locals.
The centre has turned out to be an ideal place for family weekend outings. Ha-Bangale Leisure Centre is also a popular stopover among motorists using the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Highway.
The centre comprises a 21-roomed lodge, a recreation centre with a children’s play park, a swimming pool and a playfield for soccer and netball social clubs, a pub and braai place.
The rooms at the lodge are luxurious and spacious with elegant decor that creates a warm and welcoming look for visitors.
There is also ample space for outdoor sporting activities.
The facility has solar powered running water and electricity and a back-up generator in the event of power outages.
A unique entrepreneur, Mr Ndou has also created jobs for the local community with at least 20 people employed at Ha-Bangale Leisure Centre.
After spending almost 10 years in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mr Ndou decided to return and invest home.
He used his savings to transform his rural home into a tourism facility.
“For me it wasn’t about just providing a cost-effective facility, but making it sustainable and inclusive for everyone in the local community as well as creating an economic impact through employment creation,” he told Chronicle in an interview.
A lawyer by profession, Mr Ndou grew up at Makakavhule and attended Malala Primary School and Vhembe High School in the district before he went to South Africa for further studies.
“After completing my O-level studies, I went to South Africa where I did Matric before I enrolled at Unisa where I studied law,” he said.
“I worked in Midrand in Johannesburg for quite some time before I decided to go back home and invest in this business,” said Mr Ndou.
He said his son is helping him in terms of managing the business.
“At Ha-Bangale Leisure Centre, we braai chicken, beef, goat meat and pork. We have self-catering lodges and there is also a recreation park for our visitors where they can relax and enjoy the beauty of nature in a quiet environment,” he said.
“There is also a section where there is a playfield for those interested in social matches and netball and soccer tournaments.”
In light of the ongoing modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post, which is likely to result in an increase in the number of international travellers passing through the border town, Mr Ndou is optimistic that he will tap into that market.
The US$300 million modernisation of Beitbridge into a world-class commercial hub, is one of the key projects being undertaken by the Second Republic to promote the ease of doing business and trade facilitation.
The Beitbridge Border Post upgrade is in line with international standards. – @mashnets