Hazyview Ocean Basket opened in Hazyview Junction just two weeks ago and has already served more than 3000 local guests, an overnight success. But what has really put a smile on franchise owner Nobuntu Gqwede’s face is that 16 of her 18 crew members are school leavers who have never worked in a kitchen … or anywhere.
Gqwede (40) worked at Macdonalds, Starbucks and Ackermans before deciding she was ready to go it alone. And that’s also when she decided to make a real difference in her community by employing young school leavers who had little hope of jobs because they lack any experience.
“It’s been amazing,” says Gqwede. “The commitment these kids have is exceptional. They obviously need to understand how things work, but I don’t mind reminding and mentoring them every day. Hands-on is how you make a business work,” she continues. “And they are so happy to be given this chance. They want to lift up the brand and be proud, and all I hear from guests are compliments. The reviews have been incredible.”
Director Mavimbela (21) is employed as a griller and currently supports his mother and two young nephews. He has absolutely no work experience: “I’m so happy to be working. It has changed my life and this is my home now. I had a slow start to my training, but the Ocean Basket trainer (Mish Ncube) was an inspiration as he kept on telling me to work hard because he wanted to be proud of me. He made me want to be knowledgeable and learn so that I can afford the things I and my family desire.”
Queen Lekhuuleni (21) is supporting her child and has never had a job: “What a fantastic experience working is. I love working with people. The training team were very patient with me and I learned that anything is possible with a little effort. One day, I would love to own an Ocean Basket.”
This heart-warming story is just one of many as South Africans continue to showcase a unique can-do spirit, especially in times of adversity. We are a country with a strong sense of entrepreneurship and Nobuntu Gqwede’s story shows how one small brave step by an entrepreneur can change lives forever.