Imzu Tours is dedicated to promoting and empowering the Khayelitsha community by creating jobs within the township and educating tourists about the positive impact Khayelitsha residents have on the world. Currently, the biggest problem townships face is unemployment. Imzu Tours hires locals as tour guides and teaches them transferrable skills that will push their careers forward. Imzu Tours also promotes local artists, showcasing their work during every tour and giving tourists the opportunity to buy beautiful, handmade art and give back to the community.
Mzu Lembeni, a Khayelitsha local and the driving force behind Imzu Tours, launched the company in 2011 after years of wanting to show tourists Khayelitsha, the township where he grew up. Mzu’s mother, a domestic worker working around Cape Town for around R85 per day, always dreamt of a better future for her two sons and worked very hard to ensure that they could make a success of their lives. Mzu never knew his father but in 2004, just before his father passed away, he spent a night with him. Although Mzu was hurting, he still looks back on this time and smiles because he says that it has made him who he is.
Having worked for The Two Oceans Aquarium and then City Sightseeing, where he excelled, he decided that township tourism was where his passion lay. With only R65 in the bank, Mzu followed his heart and started Imizamoyethu Tours (later changing the name to Imzu Tours). He used his last money to print some brochures and set about approaching hotels and guest houses to promote his township tours. At this stage, Mzu didn’t even have his own vehicle and had to borrow or hire a car to take guests on his tours. Guests were delighted and impressed by Mzu’s brand of tour and his personal passion for the Townships and its’ peoples and his business went from strength to strength.
Since then, he has organized and led more than 10,000 township tours, connected thousands more tourists to the township life, has expanded to include the township of Langa, and has given a percentage of each tour back to the communities where Imzu Tours operates.
When you take an Imzu Tour, you are giving back to the people of the Townships and making a meaningful difference in their lives.