Race for accommodation in Qunu begins

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iol news pic SIE004_MANDELA-_QUNU

REUTERS

A general view shows the home of former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu. Photo: Siegfried Modola

Cape Town - As people start to flock to Qunu for Nelson Mandela’s funeral, a scramble for accommodation has begun, with residents charging up to R2 000 a night for basic accommodation.

On Thursday morning foreign journalists were moving out of B&Bs near Mandela’s home after they were instructed not to photograph the grave site.

Soldiers and police allegedly instructed journalists on Wednesday night to take photographs only from the Nelson Mandela Museum, 5km away.

A meeting to discuss security was expected to be held at 2pm.

One of the residents letting rooms to visitors is Gloria Ngcibitshana, who lives a kilometre from the Mandela home. She is preparing two rooms at a price of R800 a person.

“I’m expecting five guests and I’m not offering any fancy frills. All I’m offering is a bed, linen and warm water. My guests will have to take care of everything. For many of us this is business opportunity,” she said.

“We are expecting thousands of people to come here. This week it’s been quiet, but we are expecting things to pick up today since all the memorials around the country are over.”

Ntomboxolo Mazwi, who charges R500 a night, said she had been approached by foreign journalists who were willing to pay as much as R1 500.

“They said they just need a roof over their heads. They don’t even need beds… they have inflatable mattresses and their own food. I’ve been turning them away because I’m already fully booked,” she said.

Nonkumbulo Mandela, who runs Bankok B&B opposite Mandela’s home, said she was worried about losing earnings as security was becoming tight.

On Thursday morning, CBS News journalists staying at her home were moving out after police told them they would be a security risk.

sipokazi.fokazi@inl.co.za

Cape Argus


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