Airbnb distributes R1 million in financial relief to local hosts

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Airbnb has announced that it has distributed relief to South African hosts to the tune of R1 million.

These funds have been distributed to Airbnb Africa Academy hosts, many of whom are from under resourced areas.

As part of this announcement, Airbnb shared some stories with Hypertext regarding the folks who will benefit from the relief. While usually we don’t share these sorts of stories, with all the bad happening in the world at the moment, we wanted to share a slice of good.

Grab the Kleenex because this is going to be an emotional ride.

One of the recipients of the financial aid is owner of a bed and breakfast in Langa, Cape Town. The owner, Nombulelo Msizi is 70 years old and supports her granddaughters and says that being unable to earn an income during lockdown has been difficult.

Airbnb host, Nombulelo Msizi.

The B&B operator says that she plans to maintain her home, carry out repairs and purchase personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies so that she can disinfect rooms when she is finally able to operate again.

“I’m looking at doing all those things and at the same time assisting those who are struggling more than I do,” said Msizi.

More than this, Airbnb says that Msizi has used her sewing skills to make masks during the lockdown. While she sells these masks she also gives them away for free to those who can’t afford one.

Another recipient of relief from the Airbnb Africa Academy is Stoan Galela.

This professional dancer and choreographer teaches locals and tourists to dance through his “Move to the Township Rhythm” Airbnb Experience.

While Galela says he will use the relief to care for his daughter, he adds that he will also help the 22 children he teaches and their families.

“This money is going to change so many things. The kids I teach are not just my dancers, but they’re my kids too. I take care of them,” Galela said, “Nothing makes you happier than helping other people.”

Airbnb Experience host, Stoan ‘Move’ Galela.

The final story Airbnb shared with us is that of Maria Maile, who is pictured in the header image.

“We have really compromised through this time and sacrificed a lot of things. It’s hard staying at home with your family looking at you, the one who is supposed to be feeding them. It’s been difficult. I had to stop some debit orders to use the money I had to eat and stay healthy,” says Maile.

With the relief funds provided by Airbnb, Maile says she will prioritise food, electricity and repairs to her home following damage caused by heavy rains and wind.

The host is wary of spending too much of the grant however as she doesn’t know when the lockdown restrictions will lift.

These are just some stories of Airbnb hosts who have struggled throughout the lockdown period which started in March.

Restrictions in place at the moment meant that Airbnb operators are still unable to operate.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.