Meet the ambassadors and attend free seminars by industry leaders at Hostex 2024 

Hostex 2022, Hostex 2024
Hostex 2022. (Source: Hostex)

Hostex is proud to introduce its esteemed 2024 ambassadors – each a renowned expert in their respective field – who will be bringing their expertise and insights to Hostex 2024 from 3 to 5 March at Sandton Convention Centre.  

Representing five of the hospitality industry’s most influential thought leaders and trendsetters, the Hostex 2024 ambassadors will delve into critical topics ranging from addressing the skills shortage in hospitality to leveraging technology for guest personalisation and exploring cutting-edge marketing trends. They will be speaking in the Industry Hub seminar theatre, where Hostex offers free-to-attend talks by thought leaders throughout the three days of the show. Make sure to attend the seminars to catch Hostex’s five ambassadors and other industry leaders.  

Meet the ambassadors 

Moses Magwaza, a seasoned sommelier and Eat Out judge, boasts accolades from the Cape Wine Academy and The Wine and Spirit Education Trust, UK. He garnered recognition for his service and curated wine lists at Restaurant Mosaic, earning prestigious awards like the 2017 and 2018 Eat Out Wine Service Award and the 2020 Sommelier Luxe Award. Moses currently manages Prosopa, Pretoria, pairing African ingredients with wine. 

Join Moses at Hostex at 10h00 on Sunday, 3 March. Harnessing his local and global experiences, Moses will be sharing his thoughts on elevating the dining experience by empowering waiters with wine service training in the Industry Hub seminar theatre. 

Moses Magwaza, Hostex 2024 ambassador and Sommelier
Moses Magwaza, Hostex 2024 ambassador and Sommelier. (Source: Hostex)

Niels Verspui is the Market Head/Team Lead South Africa at RoomRaccoon. His diverse career began in 2010 as a Sporthal beheerder at Stichting Gorinchemse Sportaccommodaties. Niels has since interned at Trilink Dynamics, worked at Bliss Hotel, and served as a Marketing Manager at Glen Boutique Hotel Cape Town. Currently, he leads RoomRaccoon’s South Africa operations, showcasing his versatility in hospitality, marketing, and sales. 

Meet Niels at Hostex on Monday, 4 March at 12h30. He will be sharing his insights on harnessing technology innovations in rooms revenue and creating personalised experiences to impact revenue in the Industry Hub seminar theatre. 

Niels Verspui
Niels Verspui. (Source: Hostex)

James Khoza, President of SA Chefs and Executive Chef of Sandton Sun, brings a decade of culinary expertise to his roles. He trained under Walter Ulz at Linger Longer restaurant and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management. Having worked internationally, including at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Berlin, James now oversees culinary operations at Southern Sun’s Sandton Sun & Towers and Sandton Convention Centre. 

Meet James at Hostex at 13h00 on Monday, 4 March. Addressing the pressing issue of the skills shortage in the hospitality industry, Chef James Khoza will be discussing some of the possible solutions to the crisis in the Industry Hub seminar theatre. 

Chef James Khoza, President of the SA Chefs Association, skills shortage
Chef James Khoza, President of the SA Chefs Association. (Source: Hostex)

Cleo Johnson, a distinguished hospitality consultant and entrepreneur, boasts over nine years of industry experience, specialising in marketing, business strategy, and e-commerce and holds three MEA Markets awards for Business and African Excellence. Recognised as one of Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 in 2021 and named one of the TOP 50 Global Leaders by PAYLEF the following year, Cleo is the founder of Nuecleo, a consultancy renowned for enhancing brand reputation, marketing, and sales revenue in the hospitality sector.  

Join Cleo Johnson at Hostex at 12h45 on Tuesday, 5 March. Addressing the topic of transforming hospitality, Cleo will be speaking on uniting digital innovation, data insights, and commercial strategy for guest-centric success in the Industry Hub free-to-attend seminar theatre. 

Cleo Johnson
Cleo Johnson. (Source: Hostex)

Iain Evans, owner and publisher of Truth North Media, home of The Coffee Magazine. With a decade of experience in publishing, Iain has observed the growth of South Africa’s coffee culture. He champions the specialty coffee scene through ventures like Creative Coffee Week and “A Shot in the Dark” coffee roasting event. Iain’s publications have gained international recognition, recently being shortlisted for 2 Sprudgie Awards and partnering with prominent coffee events worldwide. 

Meet Iain Evans at Hostex, where he will be entertaining the crowds in the SCASA Barista Championship. Iain shares his thoughts on why good coffee equals good business in this thought leadership article. 

Iain Evans, Hostex 2024 Ambassador
Iain Evans, Hostex 2024 Ambassador. (Source: Hostex)

Industry Hub seminar theatre – free-to-attend talks and panel discussions 

The lineup of speakers in the Industry Hub seminar theatre reflects the daily themes for this year’s Hostex and the burning issues, trends and opportunities facing the hospitality and food & beverage sector today. 

Sunday, 3 March – Taste Tomorrow 

  • 10:00 – Moses Magwaza (Sommelier and Eat Out Judge) – Elevating the dining experience: the power of training waiters in wine service 
  • 10:30 – Chris Coetzee (Owner, OHSS Consulting) – Responsibilities of food business operators related to food safety: concerns related to HACCP in micro-businesses food companies 
  • 11:15 – Wayne Harpur (Managing Director, Urban Farms) – On-site food waste solutions  
  • 12:00 – Paul Kent (CEO, Adumo) – How to leverage the use of embedded payments for a seamless experience 
  • 13:00 – Panel of experts – Andrea Da Silva; Riana Schenck; Tameryn Fourie (GAAP Point of Sale) – Cloud-based point of sale solutions 
  • 13:45 – Murray Shaw (Business Development, candi solar) – Implications and challenges of going solar for restaurants, guesthouses, hotels 
  • 14:30 – Luca Filicori (Co Owner, Gruppo Industriale Filicori Zecchini – S.P.A.) & Francesco Cassani Luca (Export Director, Gruppo Industriale Filicori Zecchini – S.P.A.) – The future of the Italian coffee culture in South Africa according to the Filicori Zecchini vision 
  • 15:15 – Chantel Eager (International Procurement – Bakery and Superfoods, AGT Foods Africa) – PulsED – Keep your pulse on pulses with a heart beat logo 

Monday, 4 March – Hospitality Horizons 

  • 10h30 – Brownen Auret (Chief Quality Assurance Officer of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa) on “Defining grading standards which give hospitality businesses a competitive advantage through a unique star-grading system that is reliable and credible” 
  • 11h15 – Natalie Larkins (Managing Director of Enviromall) on “Green initiatives within the recycling space in the hospitality industry” 
  • 12h00 – Edith Leeuta (CEO of Fibre Circle) on “Finding innovative solutions for both recyclable and non- recyclable packaging” 
  • 12h30 – Niels Verspui (Market Head/Team Lead South Africa for RoomRaccoon) will be speaking on “From check-in to check-out: Harnessing the power of hyper-personalisation in the guest journey” 
  • 13h00 – James Khoza (President of SA Chefs and Executive Chef of Sandton Sun and Sandton Convention Centre) along with a panel of experts will be discussing the burning topic of “Addressing the skills shortage: collaborative solutions for a thriving hospitality industry” 
  • 14h15 – A panel of experts from GAAP Point of Sale on “Cloud-based point of sale solutions” 
  • 15h00 – Rosemary van Staden (Chairperson of the National Accommodation Association) on “Why companies need to belong to associations. What are the benefits of being part of an association?” 

Tuesday, 5 March – Design & Deliver 

  • 10:30 – Yonela Motloung (SA Marketing Lead, Unilever Food Solutions) – Design today what delivers for the future 
  • 11:15 – Melusi Makhoba (Lecturer and programme manager, University of Johannesburg) – Exploring the application of design thinking in the hospitality industry: A focus on design and deliver 
  • 12:00 – Lindiwe Mabizela (Owner, The Signature Room) – Artificial intelligence effects on the hotel industry in design 
  • 12:45 – Cleo Johnson (Founder and Curator, NueCleo) – Transforming Hospitality: Uniting Digital Innovation, Data Insights, and Commercial Strategy for Guest-Centric Success 
  • 13:30 – Wes Boshoff (Cultureneering Strategist & Personal Development Coach, Imagine Thinking) – It’s more than just bums in beds! 

Pre-register online today for free, hassle-free access to the show on Hostex is a trade only expo for hospitality industry professionals. No under 18s or prams allowed. The session timings and topics mentioned are subject to change. 

Follow Hostex on social media for updates and information on the full programme of activities in the Skillery, Industry Hub seminar theatre and Barista Championship: 



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