Cape Town – You’re at the airport, checked in with your boarding pass in hand, and you realise – now you’re there and you’ve ditched the weight of your bags – that you’ve forgotten to grab a few gifts in your haste to see the sights or attend meetings.

And, hopefully, you have a few spare rands in your pocket.



With partners, children, and colleagues waiting expectantly on the other side, ready to hear all about your trip, you don’t want to turn up empty-handed. Better yet, you want to give something that has meaning.

The standard staple of souvenirs:

At any airport, you are sure to find the standard souvenirs needed for any family member, business associate or even acquaintance.

 South African airports are full of curios stores with local products that make great gifts. It’s always good to take a bit of the destination with you and support local business. Think: T-shirts, keyrings, local sweets and snacks (biltong, duh!) and, of course, who can go anywhere outside of South Africa without gifting a wooden giraffe – the biggest you can find!

Support proudly South African paraphernalia:

Show your support for local sports teams by buying team shirts and other paraphernalia for the sports enthusiasts in your life.

You can also purchase souvenir flags for a memory of your trip or as inspiration for a friend to visit. Buy patches for the collectors in your life for backpacks destined for future adventures. If you haven’t sent any postcards, there’s no reason you can’t write them and gift them in person – a thoughtful bargain!

One gift that helps many:

Mandela Bangle recently partnered with Tourvest Destination Retail to launch a bespoke beaded Mandela Bracelet, made by 100 percent not-for-profit social enterprise Relate Bracelets, available exclusively at Tourvest stores like Indaba airport stores, Out Of Africa, and Made In SA, for R67.

Tourvest aims to sell 67 000 of these bracelets, to provide funding for the Nelson Mandela Day Library project – giving the gift of literacy to millions of underprivileged children across the country. This will directly provide funding for 20 libraries, and benefit 16 000 children.

Help a worthy cause, in a fashionable way:

One such enterprise development project, in association with long-time Relate supporter Nando’s, is setting up a young entrepreneur with two carts at O.R. Tambo International Airport with the aim of selling merchandise in support of Goodbye Malaria.

The project aims to develop a well-skilled young entrepreneur to run the stalls, as well as to skill and provide employment at the stalls for a further eight individuals. In doing so, the stalls also act as a platform to raise funds and awareness for Goodbye Malaria.

Products include t-shirts and shirts, pyjamas, slippers, teddy bears, hats, Relate bracelets and more.

Whatever you decide to purchase, no one needs to know it was a last-minute buy before boarding so happy shopping and safe travels.

This article was first published in IOL on 8 October 2016.