BLACK EX­CEL­LENCE

From gen­eral man­ager at one of the Protea Ho­tels at just 25 years old, Siyanda Dlamini (35) is now the co-owner and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at The Re­gency Apart­ment Ho­tel in Men­lyn, Pre­to­ria. By Kwanele Mathe­bula

Bona - - Contents -

Siyanda Dlamini mak­ing his mark in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try

I knew from a young age

that I wanted to work in the

hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. In grade 8, I joined the cater­ing club as an ex­tra­mu­ral ac­tiv­ity while at Alexan­dra High School in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg. It catered for the school’s events and hosted a the­atre where stu­dents and par­ents could watch a show and dine af­ter­wards. I learnt the ba­sics of cater­ing, and through­out my time at the club, I knew that I wanted to join the sec­tor.

I did my in-ser­vice train­ing

at the Protea Ho­tel train­ing

in­sti­tute. In 2000 while in ma­tric, I found out about the in­sti­tute. I wrote to the di­rec­tor, Mary Maguire, telling her that I wanted to join. Dur­ing my fi­nal ex­ams, she ar­ranged for an in­ter­view in Dur­ban. It was tough, but my con­fi­dence earned me a spot. I started train­ing at var­i­ous Protea Ho­tels the fol­low­ing year.

Train­ing was the best

ex­pe­ri­ence. I started at the San Lameer Re­sort Ho­tel and Spa in Dur­ban. The peo­ple who had been work­ing at the ho­tel for years taught me ev­ery­thing I needed to know.

For ex­am­ple, while work­ing at re­cep­tion, I watched how the calls were be­ing trans­ferred. The re­cep­tion staff no­ticed, and taught me how to check guests in and out. I went on to work in the fi­nance depart­ment, and restau­rant where I learnt how things op­er­ated. Dur­ing my sec­ond year, I moved to Cape Town to work at the Kar­ri­dene Ho­tel. In 2003, I moved on to the Protea Ho­tel Vic­to­ria Junc­tion in Cape Town where I com­pleted my train­ing. I’ve al­ways wanted

to own a ho­tel. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing in 2005, I was of­fered a deputy head po­si­tion at The Pres­i­dent Ho­tel in Cape Town. Six months later, I was pro­moted to head of the depart­ment. I worked there for two years un­til I was 25, when I was head­hunted to be­come gen­eral man­ager at the Protea Ho­tel Cape Town Tyger­val­ley. I spent three years in that po­si­tion be­fore mov­ing to the Protea Manor Ho­tel, and then to the po­si­tion of sales di­rec­tor at For­tis Ho­tels, both in Pre­to­ria. As my ca­reer pro­gressed, I knew that I wanted more for my­self. For­tu­nately, I had been work­ing on a busi­ness plan to open my own ho­tel. I quit my job, and fo­cused on build­ing the Re­gency Apart­ment Ho­tel; I co-own it.

The Re­gency is my proud­est

achieve­ment. It has been op­er­at­ing for five months, and the ex­pe­ri­ence has been won­der­ful. The staff is made up of 150 peo­ple, 90% un­der the age of 35. Break­ing away from work­ing for other com­pa­nies has been my big­gest high­light.

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