SA College for Tourism’s former student, Zingisa Patso – known as Zingy – tells of her determination to succeed in her personal story of becoming a sous-chef. Born and raised in southern Africa, as a nineteen-year-old she moved to Port Elizabeth for work, where her interest in food preparation was piqued. She found herself wanting to learn more about how to cook meals from start to finish. However, Zingy soon found herself without work and struggled to find a job in the hotel industry as she had no relevant qualifications to her name, despite her undoubted passion for cooking.

Fortunately, Zingy bumped into an old friend who happened to be the SA College for Tourism’s first ever student at the Hospitality Academy. Discussing Zingy’s ambition to learn about all aspects of food preparation, her friend put her in touch with the College, where Zingy realised she could gain professional skills that could be a stepping stone to a career path in the hospitality industry.

Arriving at the SA College for Tourism as a student in 2014, Zingy met people from all over the country which opened her eyes to greater opportunities as well as enabling friendships with the large contingent of women on the course. As part of the course she worked with five different chefs and also gained valuable experience at a hotel. A year later, her qualifications completed, she began working in local establishments. One aspect of the course which was particularly important how was learning how to reduce stress levels in the pressurised environment of the hospitality industry. Students are encouraged to make time to reflect on their process, aided by a mentor, all invaluable to building experience and resilience in a fast-paced sector of the tourism industry.

Zingy has since worked her way up to a position as comi-chef and then sous-chef. It is a remarkable journey, both professional and personal, and Zingy is very grateful to the many people that have been involved along the way.

This is just one success story from the College, which is operating under the auspices of Peace Parks Foundation. The successful training of women in the tourism industry plays a key role in the vision of Peace Parks for a sustainable future for southern Africa.