By Miliswa Sitshwele
Paul Mabuza’s father had a plan for his son’s future – he wanted him to study agricultural engineering so that he could help out on the farm. But Paul had other ideas. Instead, he enrolled in a food and beverage course at the University of Pretoria. His effort paid off – today he is a food and beverage controller and assistant manager at Maropeng.
A new baby at Maropeng, Paul joined the family in July after working as a food and beverage manager at a lodge next to the Kruger National Park. He has also worked at Emperors Palace, where he once served South African President Jacob Zuma.
Paul decided to apply for the Maropeng job because he wanted to further his career – and, in the process, he gained a “second family”.
“The people that I work with are really great; they know what they are doing,” he says. “I love it here, everything is up to standard – I have no stress.
“It is a fantastic thing to work at a Heritage Site. I love it.”
Working for Maropeng’s “A-team” also has its benefits. “We are friendly towards each other we even call each other when we are not working,” he says. “We give our work our all and we don’t accept failure.”
Organising his first gala dinner was one of the greatest moments of his life at Maropeng so far, says Paul. He also loves the Sunday jazz lunch – the busiest time of the week.
Paul seeks to be a success in everything he does and has his eyes on being a major player in the hospitality industry one day.
So how did his father feel about him pursuing food and beverage studies instead of agricultural engineering? Paul says he was taken aback by his response. “When I told my father, he was very supportive. He said, ‘Go for it – people always eat!’”
Itumeleng Mtombeni, senior restaurant supervisor at the Tumulus Restaurant, describes Paul as a down-to-earth person who is approachable and is always on hand should staff have a problem.
“He knows his stuff. He has a lot of experience. The company [Maropeng] did a good thing by hiring him,” he says.