By Mil­iswa Sitshwele

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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”.

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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.