Robert Sithole recently completed his Micro-MBA diploma. He is a trainee manager at Londolozi Private Game Reserve, reporting directly to the General Manager. He owns his own business, Sithole Restoration Services, and he recently helped his mother start up her own small business running a chicken farm.
Less than ten years ago Robert was first hired as a general worker on the habitat crew.
“What’s the secret Rob?” I ask.
“I make a plan,” says Rob, “and I teach myself as I go.”
Robert was born in 1978 in Dixie, just outside the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. His father is a chef at Londolozi and his mother was previously on the laundry team.
“I want to improve myself always. And I have never allowed people to tell me that I can’t,” says Rob. “That’s difficult sometimes. Because people have expectations on you based on your background. But what is important to me is I have achieved everything I wanted to achieve and I will continue setting new, challenging targets. That also means more studying and I was proud to wear my graduation gown.”
Sithole Restoration Services procures firewood for lodges in the Sabi Sand. It also acts as a recruitment centre to Londolozi, hiring and training night porters. “The point,” says Rob, “is to find people who will have a future. Like me, they start at an entry-level job, but they have the potential to grow into a long-term, rewarding role at Londolozi.”
As is often the case with successful individuals who have the gift of hindsight, Rob emphasises the importance of education. “Education is not just for young people. As adults we must never stop learning. Informal and formal learning. I learnt how to use a computer with the help of my friends James Hendry and Alex van der Heever. But I have learnt about business plans in a diploma.”
Any final comments Rob?
“Yes, Londolozi is just like home for me. It has looked after my parents and me. And now – through the Good Work Foundation – it is looking after my brother who is in Grade 11. They are helping him with a bursary application to a good school. You see – education again,” Rob smiles.
Rob “I make a plan” Sithole, on behalf of everyone at Londolozi, well done on completing your business diploma! May you go from strength to strength and always carry forward your thoughtful and intelligent approach to life and people.
Written by Ryan James