This week we’re turning our spotlight onto the man behind Durban exploration site, 5 Star Durban, as well as Managing Director of Sassy Publishing, Marco Gollino. Don’t let his name confuse you, this guy is a born and bred Durbanite – and it was his love for his hometown that sparked the idea to start a site that not only celebrates Durban, but also helps others explore the city more effectively.
Sharing is caring after all.
And on that note, we’ll hand you over to the man himself to further explain his love for Durban, the origin story of 5 Star Durban and what’s next.
1. What was the spark that made you start 5 Star Durban?
My girlfriend had just moved down from Gauteng and we were looking for things to do. We had already exhausted all the usual suspects and were looking for other cool stuff to do together. She couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a definitive guide and interesting “touristy-type” information readily available like it was in Mauritius, or even Gauteng and the Cape for that matter. The more we dug the more amazing things we found out about KZN (e.g. The Red Desert, near Port Edward, is the smallest desert in the world at just 11 hectares; the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is the oldest game reserve in Africa and the KZN Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence is the only organisation of its kind in the world!). It was Meredith who had the idea, I came up with the name, and it just ballooned from there.
2. Can you pinpoint a specific highlight from the last 2 years of this initiative?
Seeing our first issue go to print was definitely a highlight, and the incredible sense of achievement that came with that.
3. We know it’s difficult, but if you had to choose just one of Durban’s attractions as your favourite – which would you choose and why?
If I had to pick just one, it would have to be the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Not only is it the coolest looking stadium in the country – with the Guinness World Record for the tallest swing in the world, but it also gave Durban something it really needed: an iconic and easily recognisable addition to the city’s skyline – much in the same way that Cape Town has its Table Mountain and Joburg has the Hillbrow Tower.
4. Is there a social platform that 5 Star Durban hasn’t explored yet that you want to break into? If so, which platform and why?
We would love to get more involved with YouTube and video creation.
5. What’s the next step?
World domination. (Ok maybe not next but it’s definitely on the list). I think we’d like to continue growing the 5 Star Durban brand, expand our offering – and maybe branch out with other publications too.
The Nespresso coffee machine
7. Bacon and eggs or just bacon?
Bacon (with extra bacon)
8. Walk us through your average day?
My average day is spent in front of my Mac, cycling between Adobe inDesign, Photoshop, various social media and our website, while ingesting large amounts of tea/coffee and trying to stay on top of emails.
9. Which form of content do you find to be the most powerful and why?
A picture is worth a thousand words (and an image of a fluffy kitten doing something cute is usually worth a thousand pictures!). But kitten pics don’t fit our purpose, so as a rule of thumb, we just stay away from the bad stuff and focus on feel-good stories about our province and city. Just the other day, a picture of dolphins playing in front of our golden mile achieved over 2000 likes, comments and shares on our 5 Star Durban FB page!
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