'Greening' a Girls School in South Africa

by SA College for Tourism
Skills development - young southern African women
Skills development - young southern African women

By 18th January eighty women had arrived at the Graaff-Reinet campus of the College where they were subjected to five days of orientation before formal training started on the 28th. A week later another fourteen learners from Mozambique and Namibia arrived at the College for their year-long hospitality services training sojourn.

Among the ninety four learners accepted for hospitality training are three from Lesotho, twelve from Mozambique, three from Malawi, five from Namibia, two from Swaziland, four from Zambia and one from Zimbabwe. Ten of the Mozambican students are from the Chemucane area where they will, upon graduation, join the staff of an up-market lodge being established as part of the Chemucane Tourism Development Project.

The sixty four South Africans hail from the Eastern and Western Cape, the Free State, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape. Learners from the latter four provinces were all recruited from rural communities adjacent to transfrontier conservation areas.

Statistics gathered on 2012 graduates indicated that by 20 March, thirty eight of eighty nine graduates were gainfully employed. This number increased when 24 of the graduates accepted internships with SANParks during April.

By 25 March the hospitality training division had covered an average of 15 to 20% of training material in respect of both core modules and generic modules. The first session of tests (two sessions per module per term) was completed with good results and all assessments done by assessors, successfully moderated.

During this time, learners attended a two-day HIV/Aids Awareness and Prevention seminar and a demonstration by Fridge Foods on the preparation of chicken dishes and the cooking techniques involved. Learners also had their first experience of preparing for and serving the public at a cheese and wine three course meal for 80 guests on 15 March.

The ETQA (Education and Training Quality Assurance) division of the Arts, Culture, Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Sectoral Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) of South Africa subjected the College to a verification audit in March. Six management spheres namely Assets -, Financial -, General -, Human Resources -, Leaner- and Training Management were audited. The College achieved four Best Practice marks (the highest possible mark) and two Meet All Requirements marks.

This is the final report from the SA College for Tourism regards the “Greening a girl’s school in South Africa” project. Please look out for us in future as we launch our new project on GlobalGiving encouraging you to support the skills development and employment of unskilled, unemployed, young women from extremely poor rural communities in southern Africa.

Your donations have made an incredible difference!

Thank you

Training is 70% practical & 30% theoretical
Training is 70% practical & 30% theoretical
Culinary Art - Building skills and confidence!
Culinary Art - Building skills and confidence!
SACT graduation - 100% pass rate in 2012!
SACT graduation - 100% pass rate in 2012!

On Friday, 16 November 2012, ninety previously unemployed young women from across southern Africa graduated at the SA College for Tourism (SACT) in Graaff-Reinet. The women graduated with a Certificate in Small Hospitality Establishment Operations conferred by the School of Tourism, Hospitality &Sport of the Central University of Technology, and with four national skills development certificates in hospitality services awarded by the Culture, Arts,Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA).

The certificates were handed to the graduates by Ms Anele Mdoda well-known South African television and radio personality and author. In her keynote address Ms Mdoda encouraged the graduates to work hard at their own success which no one could guarantee but themselves. In congratulating them on a 100% pass rate, Ms Mdoda said that judging by the success in which they have managed their first step into the tourism industry, she was convinced that all faced a bright future.

Exciting news for the top two hospitality graduates was an all-expenses paid work experience of four months to a
guesthouse in Portofino, Italy on the Mediterranean Sea, in 2013.

The top culinary art student received the Thornybush Collections trophy with a prize of R5 000 and a six months internship with the Thornybush Collections Executive Chef.

The day’s proceedings were brought to a close by Ms Jo-Ann Strauss, business woman and TV personality, who wished the graduates well on their journey.

Graduation crowned a successful year at the College during which it was recognized for its work by the likes of BHP Billiton who awarded the College an Achievers Award for the Best Tourism Training Programme in South Africa, and by the Mail & Guardian who bestowed on the College the Investing in the Future Education Award.

Top Culinary Art Student in 2012.
Top Culinary Art Student in 2012.
Students plating food for a luncheon
Students plating food for a luncheon

There was much nervous excitement and a tangible sense of anticipation as the ninety hospitality students of the Class of 2012 sat for their mid-year practical and theory exams.  The 100% success rate achieved just weeks earlier during the external moderation had everyone feeling optimistic, including the two students from the Chemucane
region of Mozambique, who would only sit the practical exams as their English is not strong enough to write the theory exams. They were accepted for training by the College in April as part of a pilot training project that will assist the impoverished Chemucane Community members to improve their livelihoods and standard of living via eco-tourism development.

Again a few weeks later, students’ faces mirrored the same anxious excitement, this time as they eagerly awaited the release of their achievements and results. There were cheers of exhilaration and audible relief as a class average of 67% was announced, and a resounding roar of applause and ululating for one learner scoring above 80% on aggregate, and further celebrating for the twenty four with above 70%, thirty three with above 60%, and the rest with above 50%. Only four learners did not manage to pass all four core training modules and the required generic subjects. These mid-year exams are often a first-time experience for these students, and by the end of the
year, with a bit more work and experience behind them, they too should enjoy success!

Thank you! It is your generous funding that helps make this life changing training available to these enthusiastic and appreciative students.


'Busi's Guest House'. Those were the words on everyone's lips as the story of a previous graduate's success spread through the hallways of the College like wildfire. And what good timing! With mid-year examinations looming, the news of Sibusiswe Chamanga, a graduate of the College, having realised her dream, inspired the students to give it their all.

Busi, the single mother of a four year old girl, arrived at the College in 2006, and completed the syllabus with energy and enthusiasm. Following her graduation, she returned to her home country of Zimbabwe. Armed with her new skills, she worked for six years in various national game parks, until earlier this year, thirty year old Busi obtained a loan and opened her own guest house. Congratulations, Busi, we are so glad to have been a part of your magnificent story.

2012 is shaping up to be another fantastic year at the SA College for Tourism. The current students have already catered for 5 large functions, one of which has been heralded by a local newspaper as the best function held in the town of Graaff-Reinet in half a century, comparing it to a town centenary celebration in 1976.

We are confident that the year will continue in the same style, and as always, we have each of you to thank for it. It is your kind contributions which makes it all possible.

2011 marked three major milestones for the SA College for Tourism (SACT). As well as being formally recognised as an Institute of Excellence by the South African education and training authorities, we celebrated our tenth anniversary and achieved our first ever 100% pass rate. We couldn’t be more proud of the Class of 2011!

An inspiring graduation ceremony on 18 November, we bid farewell to the 89 young women who came to the College from 8 different countries across the sub-continent. Special tribute was paid to Dr Anton Rupert and Mrs Huberte Rupert, whose shared  dream of establishing the College as a stepping stone to a brighter future for the marginalized youth of rural South and southern Africa, made the day possible.

The festivities continued a week later with a reunion of past students of SACT. Eighty seven women gathered on campus for a weekend of fun, cultural activities with good food (prepared and served by twelve of the 2011 graduates who stayed on to assist), good wine, and hours of reminiscing.

We are also very proud to announce that at least 73% of our graduates for the years 2001 to 2010 are gainfully employed, while seven are successfully operating their own small businesses, bravo ladies!

As we gear up for an exciting 2012, we stop to thank our donors and ‘Adopt a Student’ sponsors; you have helped to keep this dream alive and have become a part of the SA College for Tourism family. Our most sincere thanks go to each of you and we look forward to sharing our continued successes with you.

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Organization Information

SA College for Tourism

Location: Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Website: http:/​/​www.peaceparks.org/​Content_1050200000_SA+College+For+Tourism.htm
Project Leader:
Claire Binneman
Senior Fundraiser
Stellenbosch, Western Cape South Africa

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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