Nomalungelo Sotyingwa, or Ma Lungi as she is affectionately known by family and friends, is the owner of Lungi’s B&B, a bed and breakfast situated in Makhaza in Khayelitsha, and a pillar of inspiration in her community.
Hailing from Beaufort West in the Eastern Cape, Ma Lungi came to Cape Town in 1997 and worked as a domestic worker in a guest house.
“I came to Cape Town in 1997 to get a job and managed to find one in Sea Point, working as a domestic worker for 13 years in a small guest house. After the 13 years, the owner moved back to England and there was no job for me,” Ma Lungi explains.
She knew she had to stick it out and find another job as there were more job opportunities in Cape Town than in the Eastern Cape.
“At the time I was staying in a small shack that I rented. I told myself that I couldn’t go back to Beaufort West as there was no job for me there. In 2008, I had a dream about my aunt showing me a house, telling me to go there and get a job. When I went to that house, I got a job as a domestic worker working for a woman named Marjike Frijters who was originally from the Netherlands. I worked for her for one day a week.”
After working for her for a few months, Marjike decided to ask Ma Lungi if she’d like to have her own business and what type of business she’d like to go into. Ma Lungi then told her about her dream of having her own little business in the form of a B&B because of her experience of working in guesthouses. Marjike then decided to speak to her family in Holland and lent Ma Lungi the money for her to start her B&B.
In 2009, they found a place in Makhaza, and immediately started the renovations of the shack. ‘A shack as a B&B?’, you may be asking yourself. Rest assured, the place is beautifully cleaned and furnished, giving it that authentic kasi feel that can’t be found anywhere else. Ma Lungi also offers tours of the township.
From 2010, Lungi’s B&B was up and running and very successful for four years until tragedy struck in 2014 when the B&B burnt down.“Luckily there were no guests on that night and no one in my family was hurt,” she says.
“The fire started next door where an old man lived. I’m not sure whether he was smoking or cooking at the time. In 2015, the insurance company paid us. My friends from overseas also helped a lot. In August of 2015, we hired the Indawo company to build Lungi’s B&B again.”
Ma Lungi is truly innovative, and is a great example of what you can do with determination, a dream, and a little hard work.
You can find Lungi’s B&B on Facebook, or visit her website here.
Ma Lungi’s advice for the youth: “Stay in school. Education is the key to your future.”