Wild Coast Sun, a leading coastal destination, celebrates female staff during Women’s Month.
It’s an oasis of natural beauty filled with activities to keep the whole family occupied, so it’s no surprise that it takes an army of staff to run the Wild Coast Sun Resort in Port Edward, but it takes girl power to give it the edge.
The demanding hospitality environment requires passion and motivation at each level of the organisation, and female staff are known to support and guide their colleagues as well as nurture guests. This Woman’s Month, we chatted to some of the female staff who keep the cogs of Sun International’s massive beachfront resort running smoothly – and who have collectively worked at the property for close to 40 years, which coincidentally the number of years the resort has been operationally and celebrating its 40th birthday this year.
Cynthia Nene was recently promoted to Wild Coast Sun Marketing Manager, after handling various roles on and off at Sun International for the past 15 years – most recently Customer Relations Manager at Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World. Dedicated to improving herself through ongoing study, Nene holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management and Marketing from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a National Certificate, Level 3, in Leadership, Communications, Financial operations and Business Operations from QDC. She is responsible for the leadership, and management of the marketing function for the business unit, including achieving brand awareness, customer acquisition and business growth.
Her advice to others in the hospitality industry is to “be passionate about your job and thrive to exceed guests’ expectation all the time”.
Investigations Manager Rosemary Cele has been with the resort since 1998, starting as a cashier and working her way up to her current role. She is responsible for quality assurance investigation and audit processes and taking ownership of investigation outcome decisions, such as opening criminal cases or lodging disciplinary action. Cele holds, among others, a Secondary Teachers Diploma and a UNISA qualification in Forensic and Investigative Auditing.
“I achieved a distinction for my UNISA studies in Forensic and Investigative Auditing, which I did during our first lockdown, while working and balancing a home life as a mother of three,” Cele said.
Always willing to work overtime, her advice to others in hospitality is that it is “always important to practice accuracy and precision in the hospitality industry in order to maintain an excellent rapport”.
Busisiwe Zondi started her career as a SHE Clerk in 2007 holding various safety, health and environmental development courses and qualifications and has been with Wild Coast Sun as a Health and Safety Office since 2015, promoted to a Safety, Health and Environmental Manager two years later. The 36-year-old is married, with four children and in her spare time enjoys teaching, be it singing, dancing, gardening, or baking. The self-motivated go-getter is always looking for “innovative ideas to change the environment for the better”. “Over and above my normal duties as a Safety, Health and Environmental Manager during the pandemic I have been appointed as a Covid-19 Compliance Officer and a Case Manager for my entire unit and have been proud to be at the forefront of implementation of protocols and compliance submission in order for our unit to reopen its doors again after the lockdowns.” Zondi was also in charge of setting up the second hospitality unit in South Africa to open a Covid-19 vaccination site.
“Teamwork is essential in hospitality industry in order to achieve and be successful in a task, move forward together as a team, then success takes care of itself.” is her advice to others.
Ensuring that the Wild Coast Sun keeps guests happy and upholds its four-star grading is Front Office Manager Topi Mkhonza. With a National Diploma in Hospitality Manager, she started working in the Hospitality industry as a guest service attendant in 2003, and has worked her way up, using her passion for working with people. A mother of three and a dedicated wife, she and her team aim to provide the best customer service while ensuring the most seamless yet safe check-in and out.
Her advice to aspiring hospitality industry players is to follow a career they are passionate about, saying “If you do something you love, you will naturally succeed and stand out”.
Responsible for overseeing and directing all cleaning activities for the Wild Coast Sun is Zanele Mnguni, Executive Housekeeper, who has worked her way up from a room attendant to receptionist and front office manager. She has been in her current role at the Resort since 2018 and is driven to be a hard worker by her desire to be a provider to her daughter. “I always get my hands dirty, accepting challenges without complaining.” Covid-19 brought about new protocols and procedures for cleaning hotel rooms and Mnguni had to ensure these were implemented.
“Being a team player is an essential trait to develop as an individual in the hospitality industry,” she says. “You need to work constructively with your colleagues.”
Women, with their excellent interpersonal skills, determination and patience are essential stakeholders in the hospitality chain, said Peter Tshidi, General Manager of Wild Coast Sun.
“Wild Coast Sun appreciates our many female staff and what they bring to our business.”
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