It is a dream come true for Lusanda Mafanya, who has won a R100 000 bursary from the new International Hotel School Gqeberha campus, in a tense and exciting weekend cook-off.
Pictured: Lusanda Mafanya, John Creighton, Nobulungisa Mafanya
After entering through Algoa FM, he competed against 9 other aspirant chefs who all qualified for a R30 000 bursary towards their culinary studies.
The 23-year-old matriculated from Pearson High School in 2016 and lives in Forest Hill, Gqeberha.
“This bursary means that a long life passion and dream is finally becoming a reality,” says the excited Mafanya.
“I’d say I first learnt how to cook spending time in the kitchen watching my mom and gran cooking as a kid. Seeing how much love and joy was in that kitchen and that’s where my passion for this stems from.
“This opportunity will open so many new and exciting opportunities and experiences that will stay with me forever. Being a chef, and a great one at that, means everything to me,” he added.
“We are very excited to be in Gqeberha, to bring world class hospitality business and culinary education to the Eastern Cape,” says John Creighton, Director of International Hotel School, who are proudly part of the Swiss-based Sommet Education.
“We have been looking for the right opportunity and have found the perfect location in Gqeberha. The first intake will be starting classes on March 7, 2022.
“We have had an overwhelming positive response from the public in general and hospitality industry in the greater Gqeberha area,” said Creighton.
The second runner up was 20-year-old Ronaldo Roos, originally from Jeffrey’s Bay, who matriculated at Oosterland High School.
The third runner up was 24-year-old Wade Robert from Blue Water Bay. He attended Elsen Academy and matriculated in 2007.
For the cook-off, they were challenged to produce a winning gourmet burger cooked from scratch.
“Congratulations to all the bursary winners. We look forward to seeing you and all our students on campus in March,” adds Creighton.
The bursaries were offered in partnership with Algoa FM, which hosted an online competition asking entrants to motivate why they should qualify for a culinary bursary.
The International Hotel School programmes are designed to ensure that graduates are job-ready.
“Algoa FM partnered with the International Hotel School on this campaign to encourage youth to continue to pursue hospitality studies. Despite the hard knock during the early COVID-19 lockdowns, it is a thriving service-orientated career for those who are passionate about the industry.
“Education is also a pillar of focus under our corporate social investment sub-brand, Algoa Cares,” says Algoa FM Marketing Manager Lesley Geyer.
“Our approach is very much experiential focused, educating and training our students to be ‘job-ready’ upon graduation,” says Creighton.
According to the International Hotel School, the Professional Cookery Programme helps students take the first steps to become a master chef, gain the knowledge and experience to move effortlessly between the most basic puff pastry to complex plated desserts.
The courses cover safety at work, the preparation of food, healthy eating, special diets, costing, and menu planning from start to finish.
Algoa FM brought the first dedicated commercial radio show to the Garden Route a decade ago at the request of businesses and listeners.
This started a mutually beneficial relationship which dates back to the first day of broadcasting, according to sales manager Dennis Karantges.
“We still have some original advertisers on air with us, from when we first went ‘live’ 10 years ago.
“Three of our original Garden Route advertisers, Kloppers, Watsons Meat and Van Rensburgs Foods have all expanded their footprint in partnership with us.
“Algoa FM has hosted competitions, as well as birthday and promotional activities,” he says.
The relationship has seen Garden Route-based businesses expand their reach throughout the Algoa FM footprint, which stretches from Mossel Bay to the Wild Coast and through the Karoo hinterland, according to managing director Alfie Jay.
The station has seen a steady growth in audience, with Lance du Plessis presenting a Garden Route-focused drive show every weekday afternoon.
“A big ‘thank you’ to all those businesses and individuals who invited Algoa FM to be a part of their community a decade ago.
“Successful radio relies on trust – from both listeners and advertisers,” says Jay.
“So, we say thank you to the listeners who put their faith in us to keep them informed about the things that matter to them as Garden Route residents.
“And thank you to the local businesses which have put their trust in Algoa FM partnerships to help them move products off their shelves,” he adds.
The company has deepened its business relationships through its involvement with the Mossel Bay and George chambers of business.
It also works closely with Plettenberg Bay and Knysna Tourism to help promote the many festivals and events that have historically been held in the Garden Route.
Events in which the station has been involved include the Simola Hillclimb, Knysna Oyster Festival, the Strawberry Festival, and the Reed Valley Wine Farm Family Festival.
Algoa FM celebrities have also, hosted many beach roadshows from, Hartenbos in Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay.
The station is working with organisers to help revive the events as the Covid-19 restrictions ease.
“We have built up a good relationship with local business, the municipalities and the Western Cape government through our involvement on the ground in the region, as well as our dedicated Garden Route drive show,” he says.
Every weekday afternoon there is a dedicated Garden Route broadcast which provides Lance du Plessis, the show host, with an opportunity to focus on the music, information and news which informs and entertains listeners in the region.
“The advantage of broadcasting a dedicated four-hour Garden Route Drive Show allows us to create unique promotional and conversational opportunities for the businesses operating in the market,” adds Karantges.
“On the ground” activations include live broadcasts from the region, crossings to events hosted by advertisers and appearances by Algoa FM celebrities.
“We love connecting with the Garden Route and being involved in the many festivals hosted in the region,” says programme manager Baydu Adams.
It’s always a comforting and homely feeling to hear Lance’s show play at shopping centres and filling station forecourts while visiting the region,” he adds.
According to Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer, the station is also involved in supporting the community.
For Mandela Day 2020, Algoa FM supported a donation drive in partnership with the George Municipality to feed thousands of people affected by the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
The station also supports the annual Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge.
Numerous charities have also benefited from the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work during the weekly Algoa Cares slot.
“As the Covid-19 restrictions ease, we plan to be more active in the region.
“Plans include an Algoa FM charity golf day, as well as a number of partnerships with events and companies in the Garden Route,” she adds.
Approximately seven thousand supporters took to the streets in towns and cities across South Africa for the second Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer.
This is a 20% growth compared to the first Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer in 2020, according to Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
The Eastern Cape’s biggest mass participation charity event went virtual in 2020 to comply with Covid-19 protocols – which has expanded the reach of the walk beyond the traditional Gqeberha beach-front.
Nearly 50 running and walking clubs from as far afield as Cape Town, Gqeberha and Rustenburg as well as over 300 business teams accepted the challenge to turn the streets of their towns pink as they walked in celebration of those affected by cancer, says Geyer.
About 100 schools from all the major centres and smaller towns also participated.
“We thank you for being part of our journey,” says Hedley Lewis, chief executive officer of the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa, the 2021 Big Walk beneficiaries.
“To all those who participated, in an effort to make a difference, we say there is hope – let it go on to change the lives of those who are in need. You have helped keep hope alive,” he adds.
Funds raised through the 2021 Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer will go towards the purchase of a transporter for CHOC East London.
It will be used for ferrying patients and their carers staying in the CHOC house to and from the treatment centres
“Being selected as the beneficiary of this year’s Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer has been a dream come true for CHOC Eastern Cape,” says CHOC Eastern Cape regional manager Debbie Kleinenberg.
“The incredible media coverage has afforded CHOC the opportunity to not only create awareness of our organisation but has also enabled us to share the early warning signs of childhood cancer which will ensure early diagnosis and a better survival rate amongst children and teens with cancer.
“Thank you to each and every participant to this event. Each of you walked for your own personal reason and at the same time ensured that CHOC is able to support children and teens with cancer, as well as their families,” says Kleinenberg.
“At the end of the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer supported by so many, everyone is a winner.
“Not because of how long they participated, but because they all walked to assist patients who are undergoing cancer treatment.
“You took to the streets with the thought that you are holding someone’s hand and every step would truly change a child’s life,” says Lewis.
Supporters can continue to donate to CHOC through algoafm.co.za until November 8.
South Africans will be turning out in their thousands in support of those affected by cancer by participating in the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer 2021.
The annual Algoa FM Big Walk is one of South Africa’s biggest charity events. This year it takes place on October 30 – with participants picking the five kilometre route of their choice.
“It is an ideal family event as you can walk or run the five kilometres as fast or slow as you like, starting at eight in the morning,” says Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
Entries from around the country are heading for the 7 000 mark, and there is still time to register in order to help the CHOC to purchase a transporter for young cancer patients and their carers in Buffalo City and surrounds, she says.
Participants will be treated to a free show featuring a mix of South African and international acts, namely: Canadian pop duo Neon Dreams; internationally acclaimed South African country artist, Roan Ash; celebrated singer/songwriter Majozi; and Cape Town based New Hero, who have a string of number one hits to their name.
The show will be streamed through the Algoa FM website and Facebook pages from the “live studio” set up especially for the Big Walk.
There has been such support for the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer 2021 that all of the free T-shirts and much of the merchandise on offer have been snapped up a fortnight in advance of the annual event, according to Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
“Thousands of people from all over South Africa will be walking their own five kilometre routes on Saturday, October 30, to help raise funds for the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa (CHOC) and in support of those affected by cancer.
“CHOC East London will put the money raised towards purchasing a new transporter for the children and their carer who are accommodated for free at the CHOC house while the child is undergoing treatment.
“But, even if it is too late for a T-shirt, there are still exciting prizes to be drawn from the lists of people who enter over the next two weeks or so,” she says.
Algoa FM has teamed up with its clients to provide weekly prizes in the last sprint to the day of the event, as well as on the 30th.
There are also prizes to be drawn from the school, club and corporate entries.
Running and walking clubs from around South Africa are vying with each other to submit the biggest entry for the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer 2021 five kilometre walk on Saturday, October 30.
“It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which clubs are taking on the Big Walk for Cancer challenge,” says Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
As a “thank you”, Algoa FM will be giving a Samsung Active 2 Smart Watch to one lucky club member.
“I would like to encourage all running clubs, far and wide, to enter this year’s Big Walk…. it’s a Walk that changes lives,” says Ella Ajayi, MTN manager regional marketing .
To qualify for the draw, simply state the name of your club on the online registration form.
Club members can either enter individually or as a group, which means that they can share the courier costs of the sought-after iconic pink Big Walk T-shirts and other merchandise, she says.
The annual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer is the biggest mass-participation charity event in the Eastern Cape.
This year the beneficiary is the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa (CHOC).
More information is available on the Algoa FM website: www.algoafm.co.za
Algoa FM presenter Mio Khondleka (pictured) after collecting his pink T-shirt for the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer 2021, which takes place on Saturday, October 30.
Entrants living in Gqeberha and Kariega will be able to collect their free T-shirts and merchandise at a drive-through service situated at the Williams Hunt Isuzu Dealership in the Moffett Retail Park, off William Moffett Expressway, from Wednesday, September 15.
Entrants will be notified by e-mail of their collection date for their parcel, which will be between 12 noon and six in the evening on Wednesdays and Fridays leading up to the Big Walk, according to Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
Radio personality and Algoa FM Presenter, Brian Ndevu, is using his afternoon drive show to highlight women of the Eastern Cape and South Africa.
He has introduced “Wonder Women Wednesday,” which seeks to inspire women from all walks of life to look beyond the gender-based violence against women around them and reach for greatness.
“The feature was born out of my anger regarding violence towards women,” says Ndevu.
“I thought if I could dedicate a day each week to celebrate women, it wouldn’t only inspire older women to be great, but young girls as well,” he says.
“I have girl children and I want them to have other women to look up to who are doing great things in the world,” he says.
Ndevu selects the women he features by looking at what is currently happening in the country.
“I’ve celebrated young women in South Africa who have changed career paths as a result of Covid (from microbiology to farming), celebrated a woman from Queenstown who beat cancer and the Prime Minister of New Zealand for her approach to Covid-19.
“We also featured our Border Rugby Women’s Team who won the national league,” he says.
“The response has been good. Listeners tell me they look forward to the feature. The great thing about it is that there are plenty of things that women are doing that are worth celebrating,” says Ndevu.
This month, Ndevu highlights that he will be speaking to a Walter Sisulu University student who recently won a continental competition.
The future shines bright for Wonder Women Wednesdays, Ndevu says, “I’d love to have the feature sponsored or get to a point where we have an event celebrating women every year. I’d love to have seminars and talks at schools for women, by women”.
“In women’s month, we generally hear more about women supporting women, but Brian has grown this feature beyond just women’s month.
“It’s an empowering feature for all ages and through sharing positive stories, we are hoping to inspire others through radio,” says Algo FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
Algoa FM’s financial director Kevin Reed is retiring after 35 years in the media industry – and a job interview during which he was dressed “in lumo green shorts, a white T-shirt and white flip-flops”.
There is an explanation – having started a financial consulting business in 2000, he thought he had been invited for a studio interview.
Fortunately for all, Algoa FM is the place where “fun is a serious business” and following the February 2000 interview he was hired as the financial manager. Within three years he had been appointed financial director and deputy managing director.
It sometimes comes as a surprise to people who know the outgoing and extroverted side of Reed to find out that, once behind his computer, he has a totally different approach to life.
“Accounting is the most exact science. Debits always equal credits and don’t try to reinvent the abacus.
“The accounting team must never lose sight of the fact that accurate, timeous and meaningful financial and analytical information empowers management, the board and the group, to make informed strategic decisions that benefit all stakeholders,” he says.
Reed’s introduction to the media was with the then EP Newspapers, as financial accountant between 1985 and late 1998.
After joining Algoa FM, he gained an in-depth knowledge of radio by attending international conventions such as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Dallas, Texas, and spending time at various radio stations in London, including the iconic Capital Radio and Virgin.
He has also worked with NRSmedia in Sydney, Australia, to develop new advertising packages and approaches for Algoa FM’s clients.
Radio is now firmly in his blood, and Reed believes that it is now the most powerful communication medium for companies wanting to connect with their customers in a defined broadcast area.
“In an evolving media landscape Algoa FM is best positioned to partner with clients to help them promote their brand from the Garden Route to the Wild Coast and through the Karoo,” he says.
Looking back, the professional achievements of which he is most proud are 21 years of clean audits at Algoa FM and building a strong team, which will now be headed by Desiré Killian.
“The small finance team is well equipped to take care of the financial and statutory obligations. I have to thank them for their commitment and professionalism, which allows me to retire knowing that the finances of Algoa FM are in very competent hands,” he says.
Then there is the fun aspect – through Algoa FM, Reed has met “in person” a number of superstars, including Shaggy, Belinda Carlisle, James Blunt, Will Young, Josh Groban, Celine Dion and Sting (with his family).
“In the media, we often take for granted how fortunate we are to share our working environment with champions who have diverse talents, creativity and passion. Media houses are a hotbed of human capital and intellectual property”.
The outgoing financial director is the epitome of the lifestyle of the typical Algoa FM listener – “my passions are food, travel and aircraft. Food and travel I believe are the greatest ways to appreciate and try new things and experience cultural diversity,” he says.
Thanks to Covid, travel plans are on the back-burner.
“I will be letting the corporate spring unwind and spend time with the way too many people I need to catch up with. I have worked for almost 50 years, starting as a packer at the first Pick n Pay at Lynwood in Pretoria, so it is now time to chill.
“I look forward to making awesome meals and travelling with my hubby. If that’s not physically possible, I can be found checking out planes at the airport or using an app to follow flights around the world”.
His advice to a younger Kevin: “Do not take time for granted. It goes by in the blink of an eye, especially when you are working hard and having fun at the same time.
“Start saving as soon as you can, but ensure you balance your life’s journey with treats and spoils.
“Surround yourself with the best people, for the right reason. But, mostly, ensure that your life is made up of a sequence of entertaining and engaging stories”.
“Leadership is all about the people. It’s not about organisations. Its not about plans. Its not about strategies. Its all about people – motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centred” – Colin Powell.
Mental health management has become a very important factor in all our lives. And for those in leadership roles, you not only have to be on top of your mental health, but that of your team members as well.
If we are to overcome the obstacles this pandemic has brought, our focus should be on our most valued asset, what we at Algoa FM call our “champions” – our people.
Coping with mental health challenges (our own and those of our staff) has always been part of our lives, but it has been kept a well-hidden secret, like something that we are embarrassed to share.
And as leaders, we were thrown in the deep end when Covid placed a spotlight on mental health and forced us to deal with the elephant in the room.
While mental illness has always been with us, international research collated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has found that the prevalence of anxiety and depression has doubled in many countries around the world.
One of the first misconceptions that we need to overcome is that mental illness is a sign of some sort of weakness. It is an illness, much like any other, and we need to educate ourselves about it and understand it.
Here are some of my thoughts…
- Educate yourself about mental health through reading articles and attending webinars Share your insights with your team – knowledge is power.
- Have an open-door policy and listen when staff come to you with challenges
- When team members reach out, it is important to listen and then act
- Be aware that team members will almost certainly have a member of their immediate family or social circle suffering from mental challenges – this will have a knock-on effect
Many will try to keep their challenges to themselves. Here are some signs too look out for:
- Fatigue, changes in behaviour, being more aggressive in responses, poor work performance or throwing oneself completely into workday beyond 8-5, changes in appearances, changes in mood.
- Warning bells should ring if you cannot get hold of staff working remotely. Many times, if you are not in a good space answering a phone or responding to a message or an email can be too much.
- Reach out to staff. Have open, non-threatening conversations with your staff and allow them to express themselves
- Reach out to your HR Department for guidance and assistance.
I find that sharing my personal experience with mental health and the challenges I am facing through this pandemic helps.
And I always find that it helps when people understand that they are not alone, and that others are also facing similar challenges. You may be surprised how much support and hope an open conversation can give your staff members.
One must never forget that leaders are under at least as much strain as their team members – and often more. We need to care for our own mental health.
Looking after yourself mentally is as important as the skills and knowledge that have seen you move into a leadership role.
Leaders set the example, and your team will cope better with the mental challenges of a Covid world if you show the way.
Few of us can do it alone – as part of the leadership team, we need to be there for each other.
Know that there will be times when you feel despondent and feel like you can’t cope any more.
During these times we need to be able to support and lean on each other.
Be patient and understanding, when someone in a meeting has a reaction that was maybe out of the norm, step back… don’t take it personally and hear the person out.
Tomorrow, it could be you who is struggling to control stress.
These are challenging times for all of us.
About the author: Celeste Thomas – Algoa FM Human Resources Manager
Celeste joined Algoa FM in 2013. Under her guidance the Human Resources department has established itself as a strategic arm of the business, which is integrated into all the media house’s operations.
She also sits on the Board of Propella, a Gqebera-based business incubator geared to advance IT and manufacturing businesses.
“The world we live in is ever changing and as such I am always learning new things. My knowledge of the media industry has grown so much, and I am loving every minute of it. If you are innovative, creative, forward thinking and have the ability to adapt to different situations and still have a lot of fun while doing it…… then media is the industry for you,” says Celeste.