• Siphokazi Vuso

Meet some of the Khwela graduates

Updated: May 21, 2019

Khwela (which means climb in isiXhosa) is a tourism and hospitality training institute in South Africa. It stands to teach previously disadvantaged females through an internationally Swiss accredited online learning platform with the aim of empowering and encouraging young women to succeed in full time jobs, or as entrepreneurs, after completing the program's training, road trip and internship.

To find out more on this program, we spoke to 3 Khwela graduates who shared bits and pieces of their journey through the recruitment process, what they have learnt and what the future holds.

Phumezile Mnikina, 23.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I am a 23 year old Commerce in Banking Student from Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

How did you get selected to be part of the program?

I came across Khwela through a job search on a WhatsApp group. I did not trust its reliability at first, as I thought it was just one of the many job scams that circulate on social media. But I decided to apply anyway, I received a call a few days later that I was accepted. I have been on an adventurous journey with Khwela ever since.

How has your journey been thus far?

It is exciting! I have always been interested in adventure and the Tourism industry. Right after my application was accepted we attended a boot camp. The boot camp was a fun adventure and a learning experience for me.

What skills have you learned through this program?

Through the Khwela Youth Tourism Stars program I completed a 2 month online hospitality theory, a 3 week road trip through South Africa and Swaziland, and an intensive 6 month internship at Carnival Court Backpackers and Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel. The first week I was placed in the housekeeping department which helped me understand the establishment better. I also worked at the reception, handled reservations, and was a bartender.

How has the program changed your life?

This experience has changed my life and my way of thinking. I now understand peoples cultures better than I did before and I now understand South Africa better. Before this opportunity with Khwela I didn't have such a broad understanding of tourism and now I do. I now understand the importance of tourism and the role it plays in boosting the country's economy and I can share that knowledge.

For more on Phumezile click here

Nyathikazi Njani, 23.

Tell us about where were you born?

I was born in the Eastern Cape province and later moved to Cape Town, Khayelitsha in 2012. I moved in Cape Town with my sister in 2012 to do my High School level learning and I finished in 2016.

How did you know about the Khwela Youth Tourism Stars program?

I saw Khwela on a Facebook post. I was like what is Khwela? I didn't know much information about it but I applied as I was looking for something exciting to do at the time. After being one of the applicants selected we went to the boot camp to learn more about the industry, to engage in teamwork oriented lessons and had to undergo another selection process. I didn't even think I would be selected, as I was shy and overwhelmed during at the beginning of the program, but luckily I did go through.

What skills do you walk away with from this program?

After completing a 2 month online hospitality theory and a 3 week road trip through South Africa and Swaziland. I started my internship with Never@home backpackers, where I had a great experience. My duties included housekeeping, waitress, receptionist and chef assistant at the restaurant. Through this experience, I learnt to interact with different kinds of people which has enabled me to work for both individuals and the team.

What have been the highlights of your journey so far?

Wow, so much has happened that has highlighted my experience. But firstly, it was my first time sleeping at a Backpackers and doing many adventurous things that I have never imagined, like Bungee Jumping, although it was so scary to jump - in the end I did it and it was great! This opportunity has opened my eyes to a brand new world of tourism.

Why should more young women join Khwela?

Khwela empowers young women, it takes you out of your comfort zone, teaches you something new and gives you something to do instead of staying at home and doing nothing. You interact with others and at the end of it all you get a job opportunity.

What are you doing at the moment?

I couldn't secure a job after my internship, but I am now assisting Khwela with the recruitment of next year's students and that is just one of the unique things about this program, once you have completed your internship you are not left with nothing to do.

Fikile Ndarala, 24.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Cape Town, Khayelitsha.

Tell us how you found out about Khwela?

I dropped out of high school after having trouble with my health and only went back a year later. After finishing high school I was unsure about what to do next and didn't know where my life was heading. I was fortunate to find out about Khwela through my sisters friend after 4 months of staying at home after finishing my Matric, and I applied immediately.

Highlights of your journey?

I love everything that we have done through this program; the visits to South African attractions, the boot camps, the adventure. I have always loved traveling and with Khwela I got an opportunity to do just that.

What experiences do you hold after this opportunity?

Through this program I completed 2 months of hospitality theory, a 3 week road trip as well as an intensive 6 month internship at Marine Dynamics where I worked as Front of House Receptionist for both the Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises. I also handled end of day cash-ups, assisted the reservations department, answered calls and did administration.

How has the Khwela Youth Tourism Stars program changed your life?

It has given me a different perspective on life and a sense of self confidence. It has empowered me to believe in myself and also introduced me to a world beyond where I come from.

What does the future hold for Fikile?

I aspire to study Marketing and open doors for my career while expanding my knowledge of the exciting tourism industry.

For more on Fikile click here.

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