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Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu opens Kuzuko Lodge
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, on behalf of Legacy Hotels & Resorts International, officially opened Kuzuko Lodge today (November 3, 2008).
|Archibishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Dr Kim Tan at the unveiling of the plaque.|
Kuzuko Lodge, one of the finest leisure, honeymoon and corporate getaways in the Eastern Cape, is situated two hours north of Port Elizabeth on a private concession of the Addo Elephant National Park. The lodge and the property on which it is built is a partnership between South African National Parks and a consortium of local and international business executives headed up by Dr Kim Tan, a biochemist and industrialist based in the UK. The Disability Empowerment Concerns Trust holds a 24% share.
Opening the ceremony Prof Jakes Gerwel, Chancellor of Rhodes University, non-executive chairman of South African Airways and chairman of the Human Sciences Research Council, commented: “I grew up in this area and could never imagine anything this beautiful being built here. Thank you to everyone who has been involved for the remarkable way in which you have come together to develop this part of the Eastern Cape.”
Unveiling the plaque to open the lodge, Noble Peace Prize winner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu commended the valuable role Kuzuko is playing in the eradication of poverty in the Eastern Cape. Addressing Dr Tan, he said: “Thank you for believing in our people and contributing towards their upliftment. This country is a scintillating success waiting to happen and projects like this one ensure that our people have the opportunity to realise their potential. ”
Dr Tan created Kuzuko Lodge with the desire to generate an unforgettable wilderness experience for tourists which could also fund social transformation in a poor and remote area. Seeking to have a positive impact on the communities and the area, the consortium chose to develop the lodge on land which, through its remote location and semi-arid conditions, offers few farming opportunities in a district where unemployment is high. However, while it is unsuitable for farming, the land has great value as a nature reserve where the vegetation can be rehabilitated and endemic wildlife reintroduced.
The lodge is committed to leaving an ecologically viable and community friendly footprint. This commitment has been demonstrated in a number of projects the lodge has undertaken. These include organising for a nursing sister to visit the area once a month to ensure everyone has access to health care. Kuzuko also ensures that all children of school going age within the community attend school. The lodge is a proud member of the Heritage Programme.
The lodge has also partnered with Umziwethu, a Port Elizabeth based project which seeks to take people from disadvantaged backgrounds and train them for jobs in the hospitality industry. Once trained, Umziwethu places its students with its partners in the tourism industry. The ethos of Kuzuko “Place of Glory” seeks to make a positive economic contribution to the community in which it operates making this an ideal alliance which has seen Kuzuko employ chefs, waiters and field guides trained by Umziwethu.
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