My name is Xolisa Mnyanda. I was born in a small town called Elliot in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and I grew up in the Western Cape in Kayamandi township. I passed my matric in 2012. After matric I took a “gap year” as I didn’t know what I wanted to do or how to get an opportunity. That didn’t make me give up and not want to study further and now I am a student at Pinotage Youth Development Academy.
I have just come back from 4 weeks on a marketing, sales and tourism work placement where we practice the skills we learn in class. Over the seven months in the Academy we have been in two different placements. The first placement in July (winter in SA) we were pruning and I was placed in Longridge. The first day was so horrible and very scary, because that morning it was freezing cold and we had to be in the vineyards and prune. In the evening my hands were sore and so red however I did not give up I carried on and did what I was supposed to do. As the days went by I fell in love with working in the vineyards and I really enjoyed myself. I was so sad to leave because I love working in the vineyards.
The second placement was too long for me. I was at Simonsig Wine Estate working at the tasting room for the whole month. The people were nice and the farm is beautiful but I did not enjoy working in the tasting room. They are telling the truth when they say “if you do a job that doesn’t go with your heart, you will not enjoy it”. What I do know is that I gave every guest I served quality service. I have also learnt that I am a hard worker!
I have learnt so much this year – how to be assertive and sort problems out immediately, how to communicate with all different people, how to present but mostly I have gained confidence. After this placement I can see what I want to do and where I want to be after graduating at the Academy, because the vines are “my thing” and my passion.