November 3

Girl Power as Good Work Foundation Graduates Shine at Shalati

November 3, 2023

When you choose Rhino Africa, you're signing up for more than a spectacular safari experience – you're hopping on board a mission, a vision, and, yes, a dream. A dream of sustainable tourism, where every journey you embark on with us has a ripple effect on our continent's communities, wildlife, and landscapes. And making dreams come true for The Good Work Foundation graduates is one of the ways you help leave your lasting legacy in Africa...

Good Work Foundation graduates

GWF women are making waves in Mpumalanga, and we're all for it! Image Credit: Good Work Foundation

Revolutionising Rural Education

Enter the Good Work Foundation (GWF), our dynamic Impact Partner. We don't just collaborate with GWF – we believe in them. And why wouldn't we?

In a region facing the daunting challenge of staggering youth unemployment rates, which soar as high as 65%, GWF's digital learning campuses across Mpumalanga serve as vital launchpads – fueling the aspirations of eager, bright minds that are bursting with potential in rural South Africa

Bridging the gap between school and working at The Good Work Foundation

Education is not only for the young and gives graduates a chance to upskill and enter the workforce

And the most enthralling success stories? Those of the Good Work Foundation graduates who transform challenges into stepping stones toward their dreams.

Good Work Foundation Graduates

Making digital education accessible in rural South Africa, Image Credit: Good Work Foundation

All Aboard the Success Express

Three such spirited Good Work Foundation graduates – Lwazi Thobela, Vutivi Mthimkhulu, and Mampho Makofane – exemplify this transformative journey.

Hailing from rural communities surrounding Kruger National Park, these women are now crafting their inspiring narratives within the splendour of the tourism sector. Notably, they shine brightly at Kruger Shalati – a unique luxury train hotel on the Selati Bridge, offering an unparalleled accommodation experience within Kruger.

Image of Lwazi Thobela, Noxolo Mathebula, Vutivi Mthimkhulu and Mampho Makofane posing in front of a stationary train at the Kruger Station restaurant

Lwazi Thobela, Noxolo Mathebula, Vutivi Mthimkhulu and Mampho Makofane, Image Credit: Good Work Foundation

1. Lwazi – A Recipe for Resilience and Triumph

Lwazi Thobela, a culinary dreamer, faced life's curveballs with the early call of motherhood. Yet, she didn't pause. She pushed forward, honing her skills at GWF's campuses, and dived heart-first into hospitality.

Even when faced with personal challenges, GWF was right there, cheering her on, offering a hand, and sometimes, just being a friend, proving they're more than just educators but allies – every step of the way.

Lwazi Thobela

With the support of her GWF family, Lwazi shines as a mother and aspiring chef, Image Credit: Good Work Foundation

"Previously, I'd had the opportunity to do chef training in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape but had to decline because of family commitments. Then, when I was offered a position at Hippo Hollow Country Estate (in Hazyview), my child was sick, and I couldn't take up the position. But the Good Work Foundation kept in touch with me, constantly checking in to ask me how I was faring, do I need assistance finding work, and so on.

When the opportunity to intern at Kruger Shalati came up, Madam Tarshine (Mafuyeka, the GWF Hospitality Academy co-ordinator) phoned me to ask if I was interested – and here I am! I'm hoping the internship will become permanent in time." – Lwazi Thobela.

Celebrating 10 years of The Good Work Foundation

GWF is like one big supportive family!

2. Vutivi – From E-lessons to Entrepreneurship

The Good Work Foundation graduates continue to inspire, as seen in Vutivi Mthimkhulu's spirit. Vutivi's journey is all about climbing rungs. Starting with digital lessons at GWF, she swiftly became a pro-mixologist at Kruger Shalati. And, before we knew it, she was steering her own taxi, showcasing her vision of self-empowerment.

Watch this space – Vutivi is a driven (pun intended) entrepreneur in the making!

Vutivi Mthimkhulu

Vutivi's GWF certification turned into her magic map for opportunities, Image Credit: Good Work Foundation

"I can now firmly say that I'm a businesswoman. My mom was so proud of me when I bought the taxi. She said to me, 'This is why I named you Vutivi – your name means 'knowledge' (in Xitsonga), and you have shown that you really are knowledgeable.

I love it here. There are so many opportunities and avenues for growth. I'm now a permanent member of the Shalati staff. I can feed myself and my family – and it's all thanks to GWF." – Vutivi.

Happy woman hugs child at The Good Work Foundation 10th anniversary

At Rhino Africa, we're big on supporting community upliftment initiatives

3. Mampho – Byte to Bite and Beyond

Then there's Mampho Makofane, a tech-savvy GWF star, who transitioned her way through IT and tourism lessons to sparkle at the Kruger Station restaurant, managed by Kruger Shalati.

For Mampho, GWF isn't just a place of learning. Instead, it's a cornerstone of deep-rooted relationships. The connections and friendships she cultivated there are profound and enduring. The camaraderie she shares with her GWF colleagues goes beyond just professional acquaintances. To her, they resemble the closeness and trust of a family.

"Keep on pushing, keep on pulling your socks up, because one day you will get a job. GWF has improved my life. I never thought I'd be here, working at Kruger Shalati!" – Mampho.
Mampho Makofane

Mampho has been working at Kruger Station restaurant since it opened two years ago, Image Credit: Good Work Foundation

Riding the Rails of Recognition

At the heart of Kruger Shalati, Vincent Mlambo, the Human Resources manager, acknowledges the prowess and aptitude of GWF graduates, emphasising their readiness and eagerness to learn and grow.

This is not only a testament to the power of opportunity and determination in the face of overwhelming odds but also GWF's commitment – moulding young minds and securing their futures.

Kruger Shalati permanently stationed on the historically rich Selati Bridge, above the scenic Sabie River

Kruger Shalati affords an elevated experience in a re-envisioned train, Image Credit: Kruger Shalati

Travel to Transform

By travelling with us, remember that you're not just witnessing the splendours of safari but actively fueling dreams and painting African landscapes with hope and promise. We invite you to experience Africa with us and witness first-hand the ripple effect of your journey, transforming lives one Good Work Foundation graduate at a time.

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Community Upliftment, Good Work Foundation, Kruger Shalati, sustainable tourism

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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