Miriam Kwapeng, junior chef at Maropeng, was number 400 in the queue when she applied for a job at Maropeng in 2005 – number 400 in the second group of interviewees. Needless to say, she was nervous.
Before she got the job at Maropeng, Miriam baked cakes for shops in Honeydew. What she likes most about working at the visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind is the opportunity to learn from experienced chefs.
“People here are very, very nice to work with,” she says. “All I knew was baking and I have learnt a lot more here.”
In the future, she’d like to be sous chef or even executive chef at Maropeng.
“I am working nicely here. We work as a team,” she says.
Itumeleng Mtombeni, assistant restaurant manager at Maropeng, is full of praise for Miriam.
“She’s a very good person,” he says. “When you ask her to do something, she always will. She will try her best to assist always.”
There’s no doubt at all that Miriam is a hard worker. In fact, she adds a whole new meaning to the term. On week days she works as a junior chef at the Tumulus Restaurant at Maropeng. In the evenings she attends night school. And over weekends she works in the kiosk at Maropeng.
She does this for her children – aged 14 and seven.
“I want to have a better future,” she says. “I want my children to go to school well so everything can be simple for them. They study hard and I also help them.
“I don’t have time to rest,” she continues, “but at the end I think I’ll thank myself for what I’ve done.”
After all she’s learnt at Maropeng thanks to her dedication and willingness to learn, she will probably start by being grateful she waited in the never-ending queue four years ago.