*We are delighted to work work so closely with the Pinotage Youth Development Academy, an establishment that develops the capacity of young, disadvantaged South Africans to prepare them for employment within the wine industry and related sectors, such as hospitality and tourism.*
My name is Jade Bartie, I am 21 years of age, I live in Paarl. I am currently studying at the Pinotage Youth Development Academy and I matriculated in the year 2011 at Wellington high school.
I lived and grew up in Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats. It was my home but also a place where gangsterism and drugs over powered a lot of the youth living there. I lived with my mother, grandmother and two brothers, one was older than me and one younger. Life was a battle because we were raised by my mother and grandmother my mother couldn’t find a full time job because she had to look after my grandmother. Life was a battle.
In grade 7 I realised there was nothing for me in that place, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend a proper school because finances wouldn’t allow it. Then I made a life changing decision, moving to my father this was good for me but it also meant leaving my mother, grandmother and younger brother behind. It was a tough decision but one I don’t regret. I went through high school and knew exactly what I wanted to become after I matriculate and that was studying to obtain my 4 year nursing degree. When I eventually matriculated, I applied, and applied…letters just just came back saying “ we regret to inform you that your application was not successful”…. I gave up …. in May 2012 I fell pregnant and in February 2013 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, my life and motivation.
In 2014 someone told me about the advertisement in the newspaper about PYDA. I applied not knowing whether im going to be successful or not, and I wasn’t really interested because nursing was stuck in my head. I was lucky enough to be accepted as one of the 25 students. The academy really changed my life, I met people who had a tough life just like I did and I realised that I was not alone. I learned that I was not a victim anymore. Because 40% of our curriculum focuses on personal development, getting to know the real me was amazing and changing my situation around, not to be a victim but a victor. My personal life as well as social life changed.
The journey is an amazing one. From pruning in the early mornings, it was difficult but worth it. To the tasting room and restaurant, meeting different people, learning different wines, dealing with difficult people almost all the time was one of my biggest challenges … then last but not least HARVEST from the vineyards to the cellar. So much hard work, sore hands, bee hives, snake holes all in the vineyard it was tough and something I wouldn’t want to do, what always kept me going was knowing that it was just for a month and the people I met that works there to put food on their tables. I enjoyed the cellar so much more I did everything and learned so much. It was punch downs, punch overs, additions … it was fun but hard work because there were only guys in the cellar and doing everything they did was a challenge. Even though it was hard I never gave up.
Im 10 months into the programme and im clear what career path I want to follow, and that’s to be a sommelier. Im blessed that I was granted a life changing experience, I wouldn’t change anything about my life. I realised that my story added value to my life and others. Im entirely grateful.