What we do know about Patience Nkwane is that she can cook, very very well. She gets rave reviews from guests of Saseka, and the chefs who work under her guidance, absolutely love learning from her. What you may not know about Patience is that she has a huge heart and loves helping those less fortunate than her in any way possible.
Patience grew up in Rustenburg as part of a large family, and with a father who was a Pastor, the intrinsic nature of giving was deeply instilled in her from a young age. Their family home was a mission house and when she thinks back on her childhood she remembers that this was not just her home, but rather a safe haven for the whole community.
Her father was a guiding light and taught her many lessons, making sure her beliefs and values were grounded and inherently good. All these years later, Patience helps many young people she meets in a variety of ways. Whether it is buying groceries for someone in need or helping upskill young people in order to gain better opportunities, she is always lending a helping hand.
She dreams of one day opening a cooking school for young community members, a place that can instill strong values and work ethics, but also teach many of the skills that are needed for applying and successfully getting jobs in the workplace. .
Although Patience wanted to go to a culinary school her finances did not allow for this so she joined a catering course and got amazing experience while training on the job. When she wasn’t working in the kitchen, she took on further studies, completing a number of courses in various aspects of hospitality.
Her first safari lodge job was in Madikwe at a brand new lodge – this allowed for plenty of training and she embraced the opportunity to better herself – completing first aid training, customer care courses and getting a general idea of how to be a real team player and leader.
Just over 8 years ago the opportunity presented itself for Patience to start a new career with Thornybush in the Greater Kruger Park area. She began as Head Chef at Waterside and is now in charge of the incredible creations that come out of the Saseka Tented Camp’s kitchen. Judging by the feedback from our guests (and our own experience) Patience is certainly doing a spectacular job!
Over her years at Thornybush she has really grown as a person too. Patience has learnt to run a big and busy kitchen with confidence and kindness, she has mastered the art of running weddings and other big functions, created many clever and tasty menus and perfected what it takes to be a patient and successful leader.
When it is time to take a break from safari life, Patience heads back to the home she knows best, to spend time with her son and the rest of her family. There she can take the opportunity to relax and bake for the ones she loves. The downside of being such a good chef is that even on your time off people want you to make them delicious things to eat!