Ekurhuleni builds 2010 Welcome Village

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg - The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is to construct a unique Welcome Village to greet tourists as they arrive at OR Tambo International Airport.

OR Tambo is expected to be one of the major ports of entry into the country during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The village will be built around a central amphitheatre, where visitors can enjoy live performances including music, street theatre, drumming and dance.

A circle of huts and stalls will offer ticket and accommodation booking, information on local restaurants and entertainment as well as food, gifts and souvenirs.

Announced by the Member of the Mayoral Committee in charge of Sports, Recreation and 2010, Councilor Vulindlela Mapekula on Friday, the village will be situated in Dries Niemand Park in Kempton Park.

Mr Mapekula said the municipality was committed to playing a major supporting role to host cities and ensuring the hosting of a successful World Cup.

"To us as a metro, we want to leave an everlasting impression in the minds of the international world that Ekurhuleni is indeed a unique place where one can come to stay and play," he said.

A shuttle service will transport visitors from the airport to the village where they will have an opportunity to unwind after a long flight, find their bearings and get their first taste of the romance of Africa.

Design features include thatched huts with beautiful African designs. The circular "kraal" shape emphasises the spirit of togetherness and symbolizes an embrace to South Africa's guests.

The Welcome Village will present local performers with an international audience, service providers will be given a marketing platform and goods providers will benefit from the chance to show off their produce.

Ekurhuleni 2010 General Manager, Joe Mojapelo said the city had the responsibility of creating a first impression of South Africa for tourists. - BuaNews