Peter Mhanaza: building dreams at Maropeng
In 2005, Maropeng – Setswana for “returning to the place of origin” – opened its doors to the public, inviting them to experience the birthplace of humankind. Ten years later, people are still discovering their path to humanity.
Over the years, Maropeng has built and nurtured numerous relationships, both near and far. One of the most rewarding has been our series of corporate social investment projects involving Maloney’s Eye Primary School in Krugersdorp. To date, Maropeng has built a kitchen at the school, a children’s playground and a vegetable garden, all of which are run and maintained by the school, with support from Maropeng staff.
Peter Mhanaza, a former pupil at Maloney’s Eye, is now hotel manager at Maropeng, where he too is celebrating 10 years or service. His time at Maropeng has seen him climb up the ranks, from ticket officer, to hotel receptionist, reservation supervisor, Sterkfontein operations manager, junior assistant: food and beverage manager, to where he finds himself today – Maropeng’s hotel manager and acting food and beverage manager.
Looking back at his first day at Maropeng, Peter says the big, futuristic Tumulus building and the masses of people arriving made him nervous, but he was determined to make an impression at his first-ever job.
“When I first saw Maropeng, it was a beautiful, big place with masses of people wanting to be the first to visit after it opened. I was scared of making mistakes as this was my first job, but I got into character; I was excited to be there, I showed enthusiasm and I learned fast – which is why I occupy this position [hotel manager] today,” he says.
He is happy that Maropeng has made improvements to Maloney’s Eye, where he attended primary school. He recalls his days at the school: “Back in the day, things were harder for us. Coming from a rural background to where I am now, it goes to show that you can never let where you come from affect your dreams.”
His future plans are to stay Maropeng, and perhaps rise to lead the proud South African institution one day. Good luck, Peter!
Join in our 10-year celebration by visiting Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves. The Maropeng Visitor Centre is open to the public from 9am to 5pm every day. Get your tickets here.