Annette Skaap
Annette Skaap

Ex-flight attendant behind new Khayelitsha four-star hotel

By Odwa Mkentane, Chevon Booysen Time of article published Nov 22, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Inspired by her business-savvy mother, the woman behind Khayelitsha’s first 100% black-owned four-star hotel, Spade Boutique, said the project had been a dream of hers for years.

As an investment by prominent local business couple Bulelani and Annette Skaap, the brand new luxury hotel is set to open on December 5.

As the first of its kind in a South African township, it is expected to create jobs in an industry that has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

When she worked as a flight attendant, Annette Skaap said she would often get asked about what accommodations there were in Khayelitsha.

“At that time an influx of people were coming to visit Khayelitsha and it was changing back then, people wanted to visit Kwa-Ace pub and grill and Kwa-Ace Park and other areas within Khayelitsha and that is what inspired me to start the rental business,” said Skaap.

The mother of two was born in Langa and moved with her family to Khayelitsha at the age of five.

She is a multifaceted woman, an entrepreneur, and a digital content creator with a large social media following.

She holds a National Diploma in Internal Auditing from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and is currently pursuing a BCom degree in Accounting Science at the University of South Africa.

“Growing up I never thought I would be in business. Instead I wanted to be a teacher and as time went on I wanted to be a doctor and later on I just decided that I wanted to be an accountant, that is why I studied it at CPUT. My mother was an entrepreneur. I was inspired by her.”

Bulelani Skaap, popularly known as “Ace Mabheka”, has over the years trail-blazed in the lifestyle and entertainment industries.

Under his portfolio he has built lifestyle and entertainment spots, Kwa-Ace Lounge, Kwa Ace Kitchen and Kwa-Ace Eparkin which have all become popular tourist attractions for local and international travellers.

Annette said the hotel itself is one of a first kind in the country.

It is expected to accommodate both local and international visitors and will have African and French cuisine.

“The hotel has a modern interior. It has a spa and you can imagine a spa in the township. Our security is being beefed up. We have surveillance cameras working 24 hours a day, high walls with electric fences and we have a security company that makes sure that safety is provided all the time.

“Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It has been challenging for me, and dealing with people generally is not easy at all. Tenants can be difficult.

“Being an entrepreneur you sometimes have expenses that just come out of nowhere but what I like and enjoy about it is meeting different people and building relationships with them,” she said. She said her husband was very supportive.

“When I just resigned from the aviation industry, I sat him down and told him that I wanted to start my own business. He invested in my inspiration and supported me in everything.

“The hotel project is new to us and what we want is just to focus on it to become a success and our future plans is to open franchises and build the future of our children,” she said.

Premier Alan Winde said tourism was an important job-creating sector in the economy.

“It really warms my heart to hear the news that we are starting to see a recovery in tourism numbers and that hospitality investments, such as this new hotel in Khayelitsha, are taking place,” Winde said.

“I look forward to the completion of this development and I will definitely visit it when it opens. Investments such as this create jobs in our township economy, which has been particularly hard-hit over the last 18 months and I hope to see many more like it.

“For our part, we will continue to focus on the tourism and hospitality sector as a strategic focus area so that we create the opportunities our communities need to recover and prosper,” said Winde.

Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) chairperson Ndithini Tyhido congratulated the Skaaps on their business.

“The KDF wants to really congratulate the couple on the completion and launching of their luxury hotel on the shores of Khayelitsha.

“Skaap’s way of thinking is in line with the KDF thinking that #7784, which refers to our postal code, is not a jungle. It is one that added a star to shine the Khayelitsha crown even brighter.

“It’s a very serious and welcomed development. We have noticed Skaap’s contribution indenting the community’s endemic of joblessness and we are very pleased that it will add to Khayelitsha’s diverse tourism offering,” said Tyhido.

Mayco member for Economic Opportunities, James Vos, said he was thrilled about the exciting new establishment.

“It is fantastic that we have entrepreneurs investing in all parts of the city. This is a bold and beautiful move, seeing star developments in the township and showing that the economic environment in townships is vibrant and growing which means the spending power is increasing.

“Our locals and visitors are now spoilt for choice and the time has come to turn tourism upside down. This is definitely an opportunity for entrepreneurs to retain and expand business opportunities to diversify the depth of the hospitality sector which includes the accommodation, experiences, and products,” said Vos.

Vos said he has experienced the warmth and quality of the Skaaps through their Kwa-Ace business.

“Tourism won’t be the same again. The tourism map is growing and the stars are aligning for our business owners,” said Vos.

Cape Times

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