By Zuko Komisa
Founder & MD Bheki Dube was recently featured on Breakfast with David. Dube started Curiocity Backpackers in 2013 in Johannesburg’s vibrant Maboneng Precinct.
The Early Days
With an eye for a gap in the travel industry, he reflects on his upbringing and how his grandmother who ran a spaza shop taught him about entrepreneurship.
“When I reflect on it I really feel that there were elements of hard work that were entrenched in me from a very young age. Waking up in the morning making sure that you’re delivering… as I started growing up and being exposed to other entrepreneurs and their mindsets, I started realizing that I could actually take what was regarded as traditional business and scale it up,” he says.
Sparking Curiosity in Others
Curiosity Backpackers is now operating in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, as well as the Kruger National Park with plans to expand throughout the rest of the African continent. An untapped industry, Dube says he wanted to design beautiful hostels that were accompanied by beautiful experiences for international travelers.
When he started his journey as a photojournalist he met a mentor who told him that he would make enough money doing what he was doing. It was at age 21 when he decided to follow a new path as an entrepreneur.
Growing up in Troyville in the heart of Johannesburg he was inspired by the rich heritage of thinkers and storytellers and admits that his whole life has been about exposing the world to the marvel that is the city and that Curiosity Backpackers is an exertion of that story.
Listen to the full conversation here:
The Business of Ideas
Bheki also shared lessons he learned from his mentor, and his appreciation to the exposure to knowledge learned over a lifetime of business when he started.
“I went into the industry with somewhat of a blind vision, I’ve come to learn about risk over the years. In the beginning, I didn’t even know what a business model was, I knew I had a feeling, I wanted to open up a business. Over time I realised that it’s one thing to open up a business and that if it’s not financially feasible, there won’t be too much of them.”
Young Gifted and Black – Bheki Dube is also known as “Minister of Tourism” in the Maboneng Precinct and through Curiocity Backpackers gives tourists experiences in the inner city, showcasing the multifaceted story of Johannesburg.