The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 October 2022
On 11 November, 89 young women and 14 young men from rural southern Africa graduated from the SA College for Tourism and its Tracker Academy, with national certificates in hospitality services and tracking animals in the wild respectively. These qualifications will allow them to work in the region’s burgeoning tourism sector, enabling them to better not only their own lives, but also those of their families. To date, 92% of graduates of the college have been employed.
Chairperson of the college, Mrs Gaynor Rupert, warmly welcomed guests and was joined by former students Helen Sibuyi and Andrea Mathebula in thanking the donors for their support. Helen, who was the top hospitality student in 2015 and selected for the learnership programme of the Drostdy Hotel, where she spent the past year being trained and gaining work experience, made special reference to the European Union, the college’s largest donor. Andrea was the Tracker Academy’s top student of 2011 and in 2013 spent time at the Caiman Ecological Refuge in the Pantanal region of Brazil to habituate the jaguars. He is currently working as a game ranger at Londolozi Game Reserve.
Mrs Inna van Heerden from Thornybush Collection presented the Thornybush Culinary Art Trophy to Thando Matsombe. Next year, Thando will join the Thornybush Collection executive chef for a six- month internship. Mrs Kate Groch presented the Londolozi Trophy to savannah biome top tracker Jerry Sibiye, while Ms Isabelle Tompkins presented the Samara Trophy to top semi-desert biome tracker, Mendrew Mdlovu. Mrs Lyell van Rensburg presented both with prize money donated by the Van Rensburg family.
Mrs Barbara Pudel announced the Top Hospitality Student of the Year, Tshepiso Thelingoane, and her runner-up, Brenda Jones. In 2018, Mrs Pudel will sponsor Tshepiso and Brenda for a three-month work shadowing visit to her guesthouse in Portofino and to other Italian tourist destinations.
The Dr Harold Riley Peacekeeper Award was announced by Ms Rona van der Merwe and presented to Sarah-Lise Louw and Sakhile Sabiya.
A hearty congratulations to all the graduates and we wish you much success in your careers!