You can’t miss Thandiwe Mnisi, aka My Girl, during your visit to Simbambili. She’s the rock star heading up the choir come dinner time. You also have her to thank for the good order of your accommodations during your stay. Thandiwe is the head of housekeeping at Simbambili and has been with us since 1998.
She was born and grew up in nearby Acornhoek where she lived with her family until after her final year of school. Her family started calling her ‘My Girl’ when she was a baby and the nickname has stayed with her throughout her life.
After school My Girl worked in an ice cream shop. Wanting to gain more experience and earn more money for her family, she jumped at the chance to join Thornybush when the opportunity arose. Her first job being a child-minder for the management couple at Simbambili.
It didn’t take them long to see her potential and before she knew it, My Girl had been employed as part of the housekeeping staff at the lodge. She worked in the rooms, the main guest areas and the laundry until 2017 when she was promoted to Head Housekeeper.
In this role, she puts her many years of experience to effective use mentoring and overseeing her colleagues in the housekeeping and laundry divisions. My Girl also manages the stock control function and oversees ordering any supplies needed by her department. Most importantly, she coordinates the choir performances and keeps track of staff participation in these activities.
During her limited spare time, My Girl manages a small supply store for her co-workers, selling the best hot fried potato chips ever, among other necessities. She is a keen gardener and of course singing is one of her favourite pastimes.
My Girl has been in a relationship with one of the talented chefs at Simbambili for 17 years but has chosen to remain unmarried. She has 3 children named Antonia (32), Trevor (29) and Pretty (7). Antonia is employed by SABC, Trevor is qualified in plumbing and carpentry and Pretty is in Grade 1.
My Girl loves to please and is delighted when guests provide feedback and comments regarding her housekeeping team. She takes enormous pride in her work and is always looking for ways to delight our guests.
One day My Girl was on her way to the lodge rooms from the staff village and came across a leopard in the big outdoor boma.
The big cat was only about 2 metres away when she spotted it. Forgetting every rule, she’s ever been told, My Girl sprinted away at top speed. Fortunately, the leopard did not give chase or follow her out of curiosity.
She will never forget this accidental encounter with one of Africa’s most elusive animals and still shakes her head in disbelief whenever she thinks of it.
Her favourite animal is the elephant, which is a lot harder to come across unexpectedly! She has the utmost respect and admiration for these lumbering beasts and finds them fascinating. The best part is that she can always judge what they are thinking or feeling from their body language.
My Girl is grateful that she gets to see these magnificent mammals up close around camp during her daily tasks. Get in touch if you’d like to be part of the wonderful South African safari experiences with Thornybush at Simbambili Lodge.