Professional Cookery student opens restaurant

We are all taught to go to school so that we can get a good job and that way, we will be successful. Granted that way of doing things has proved to work for many, but not for all of us. Unemployment in South Africa stands at 25.5% and many of those are young people. Many young South Africans find themselves in a difficult position where they are qualified but remain unemployed or get stuck in jobs that they hate.

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Then there are those who choose to challenge the status quo and take it upon themselves to define their own destinies. Despite having an opportunity to get a full-time job, Nhlakanipho Ndlovu, had a different plan. After completing his Professional Cookery programme at the Sparrow FET College in 2015, Nhlakanipho Ndlovu embarked on his own journey.

Ndlovu Lounge

Ndlovu dug into his own savings and invested it into opening his own restaurant at his home in Soweto. Ndlovu was never an A student growing up, “He was a very quiet child, I remember when he was five years old he was still struggling with his speech and so I took him to a speech therapist. As he grew up he slowly got better but I realized that his school results were not the best, so I suggested that he try getting into hospitality, seeing that he enjoyed cooking with his sister so much,” says Catherine Ndlovu, his mother.

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After much motivation from his mother, Ndlovu took it upon himself to register for the Professional Cookery programme at the Sparrow FET College to enhance his cooking skills. “The idea to start this business was also motivated by all the things that I learned at Sparrow and Spar. I learned how to handle food and customers. Even how to run a business,” Ndlovu explains.

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Ndlovu has been running the business with the help of his brothers and sisters and will be employing two employees in February. Merely a month into the business, he is already open to hosting special events including community credit union events and birthday parties.

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Sparrows recount UK Tour

On 20 November, the Combined School Choir jetted off on a two week-long tour of the United Kingdom (UK). The cities visited included London, Watford, Chelsea and Banbury. The school embarks on the tour every three years and it serves as a huge cultural and social experience for the children.

Lelebohile Ramotlalane - Kamohelo Lephallo - Tshepo Lebididi - Karabo Khupe - Michelle Manganyi - Nomathamsanqa Ngamlana

The choir was kept very busy while on tour, averaging two performances a day over a two-week period. “The tour went very well, it was really lovely.  It was a great experience for the children. We also met some really great people; I was very impressed by the warm embrace of the people of England. The choir also did very well, at one performance we got a standing ovation where one lady actually cried. They really stepped it up and came alive on stage,” says Choir Conductor, Badelisile Gaobepe.

The choir was hosted by different host families associated with Sparrow through the Sparrow Foundation in the UK. “My highlight was getting to spend time with the host family that I was with,” recounts choir member, Karabo Khupe. She further adds, “Getting to go on tour of London was also a very great experience.”

Choir Master and Misstress - Dominic Gaobepe and Badelisile Gaobepe

The 12 member choir spent their time mesmerizing different schools and churches around the UK with their proudly African song and dance. Kamohelo Lephallo, in grade nine also recounts his highlights, “Singing at the different schools was my greatest highlight. I was also impressed with the kind of facilities the schools had that I am not used to.”

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The Sparrow Educational Trust Founder, Jackie Gallagher, thanks the National Lottery South Africa and the Edcon Group who made the trip possible and a great success. The National Lottery sponsored the funds that made it all possible while the Edcon Group sponsored clothes and toiletry.

“The whole point and theme of the choir performing was to celebrate former President Nelson Mandela’s legacy, his life and what he did for South Africa. The highlight was when the choir was invited to sing at the Royal Chelsea Hospital. They were the second choir to ever sing in the chapel for their Christmas celebration,” Jackie Gallagher says.

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