Celebrating Graduation Day with SA College for Tourism

On Friday, November 16, 2012, ninety young women from across Southern Africa graduated from the SA College for Tourism.  This is an organization supported by Empowers Africa that is located in Graff-Reinet, Africa. SACT is the first training center in Southern Africa to focus its training program on the development of operational and management skills for the lodge and guesthouse industry.  Every year, SACT selects 90 young women — all unemployed and from impoverished backgrounds — and sponsors them for a year-long training course in hospitality service skills.
Andre Kilian, Executive Director of the SA College for Tourism, sent us this interesting recap of graduation day …
“The women graduated with a Certificate in Small Hospitality Establishment Operations conferred by the School of Tourism, Hospitality & Sport of the Central University of Technology and with four national skills development certificates in hospitality services awarded by the Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Education and Training Authority of South Africa.
The certificates were handed to the graduates by Ms. Anele Mdoda well-known South African television and radio personality and author. In her keynote address, Anele encouraged the graduates to work hard at their own success which no one could guarantee but themselves. In congratulating the Class of 2012 on a 100% pass rate, Anele said that judging by the success with which they managed their first step into the tourism industry she was convinced that all of them faced a bright future.
Mrs. Gaynor Rupert, Chairperson of the College, in welcoming the graduation guests paid special tribute to the donors and supporters of the College some forty of whom were present.
Among those in attendance who brought exciting news for the graduates were –
Mrs. Barbara Pudel of Geneva, Switzerland, who invited the top two hospitality graduates to an all-expenses paid work experience visit of four month to the Pudel family guesthouse in Portofino, Italy, overlooking Mediterranean Sea.
Mr. Nic Griffin announcing in addition to R5 000 prize money, a six months internship with the Thornybush Collections Executive Chef for the winner of the Thornybush Trophy for the Top Culinary Art Student of the Year.
Famous Formula 1 race driver, Mario Haberfeld and his wife Ana, who offered year-long internships to four graduates at their  Caiman Refuge in the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands.
A moving touch was added when a copy of a pencil sketch of  President Mandela re-signed by the artist, Sir Harold Riley, Court Painter of Queen Elizabeth II, was handed to the most compassionate student of the year, the Campus Peace Maker.
The day’s proceedings were brought to a close by Ms Jo-Ann Strauss, business woman and TV personality, who wished the graduates well on their journey.
Graduation crowned a successful year at the College during which it was recognized for its work by the likes of BHP Billiton who awarded the College its Achievers Award for the Best Tourism Training Program in South Africa and by the Mail & Guardian which bestowed on the College its Investing in the Future Education Award.
The graduation ceremony was preceded the evening before by a  five-course dinner prepared for and served by the graduates to donors and sponsors of the Colleges.”