Nelson Mandela’s waiter

“I was born with a head problem. Basically, I’ve got a pipe that goes from the back of my skull, running along here. You can feel it. You can touch. It runs from the back of my head to my stomach. It drains fluid. In your head, you have a valve that puts water in and drains water out, so you maintain pressure and temperature. Mine was broken. So, my brain was being crushed.

My mum took me around the country, trying to find out what was wrong. I had everything in my head that was removed, trying to figure out what was the problem. Everything that can be taken out and doesn’t affect you? It got taken out. I couldn’t walk. If a fluid is doing this, and crushing your brain…

I wasn’t the clever one, because of the operations. And then, I always wanted to be in hospitality. I like to speak to people, I like to serve people, I also love food. But I wasn’t clever at all. So, I worked during the World Cup, I was managing 10 private suites at Elis Park and a private lounge. Then, I did the same at the whole African Games in Mapuccu. I was there for three months, it almost killed me, but we did it. And I came back and opened this. So I’ve been pushing on with this, I mean it was something inspiring.

During my service, I served Nelson Mandela three times. I was his personal waiter. So he told me; he always asked questions about how you’re doing, and what you’re doing, what are your plans, and he said to me, ‘It takes a great man to be served but it takes a greater man to serve.’ So that always inspired me to keep going through hard times.”


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