Today marks the 45th Youth Day in South Africa, a day where we as South Africans are more aware of encouraging the amplification of the young voices of tomorrow. Today we’re out there connecting to the youth, hearing their stories, solidifying our community outreach efforts as an ongoing act of change and most of all, learning how this day has positively impacted many lives and opened up the doors for long-lasting change and opportunities.
Having the privilege to work closely with the Thornybush Community outreach programs, and to see the difference that they make in the lives of young, African youth in the local communities of the Lowveld is one of the many attractions in working for this company. Seeing first hand how our most recent Yes4Youth student intakes have been such a pleasure to have at our various camps, and watching the impact on the importance of investing in youth and how we continue to make a difference is priceless… Especially when you get to share these sentiments with our Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane who came to visit us a few weeks back.
Having grown up understanding the importance of Youth Day and appreciating the significance of 16 June 1976, I decided to reach out to one of our YesForYouth intakes, Sihle Ubisi who has recently joined Thornybush as a Hospitality student trainee.
Masego: Hi Sihle, so lovely to see you again, thank you for taking the time to chat to me today, I know you’re a very busy lady. So, let’s chat about Youth Day. From your perspective, what is it about and what does it mean to you?
Sihle: Hi Masego, always a pleasure! And being busy is how I like it. So Youth Day to me is a special day, for myself and the Youth of South Africa to remember the events of 1976, and June 16th students. We need to constantly recognise the struggles they faced and what it took for us to be free, we must never forget the bravery that allowed us to be where we are today.
Masego: Has the YesforYouth initiative played a part in your hospitality career? When did you know that you wanted to work in Hospitality?
Sihle: In 2018 I was forced to take a gap year when my tertiary education funding ran out. I knew I wanted to carry on studying so I joined this youth foundation that helped encourage my growth which then developed my newly found passion for hospitality.
Masego: As you’re now part of the Thornybush family, what are some of the most rewarding moments working here so far?
Sihle: That moment when I complete my tasks for the day and see our guests smiling. This makes me really happy that I’ve done a great service.
Masego: I know you’ve only been here for a short time, but is there anything important that you’ve learnt so far?
Sihle: A big lesson is understanding the importance of hard work, teamwork and pushing yourself to learn new things even if it’s not your job description. Most of what I’ve learned comes from Advice and Livis as I find them easy to talk to and not shy when it comes to expressing myself and asking for help.
Masego: Do you have dreams of where you want hospitality to take you?
Sihle: I would like to travel abroad and learn new languages. In particular I have a dream of visiting Italy and perhaps work there for a few years.
Masego: Is there one lesson you would want other students to know who have dreams to work in hospitality?
Sihle: Oh many lessons! *chuckles* But the most important one is that they must work hard and be respectful and respectable. Do not waste time, and make sure that it is what you want to do. Hospitality is for people that enjoy working hard, working with others and ultimately putting guests first and making them happy.
Masego: Thank you so much for these honest and beautiful answers, we wish you all the luck and cannot wait to see where this career takes you.
Sihle: It’s a pleasure, and yes, big dreams are important, and I have many.