20 April 2017 marks the celebration of the first “South of Africa Day”. Brought about to strengthen the bonds of camaraderie and enhance the morale of the South of Africa employees, “South of Africa Day” landed the 20 April slot with a very good reason: it is the birthday of owner Johan Jansen van Vuuren. Says Managing Director, Stef Venter, “The vision and mission of South of Africa clearly states that it is our goal to improve the way of life of the employees, who are also our extended family. This special occasion is a very clear reminder of that statement where we undertook to look after our valued staff and lend a helping hand where needed.”
To commemorate this day, all employees will be seen wearing a grey ribbon tied to their left wrists. To add to the excitement and spirit building, no staff member may tie his own ribbon as it is the duty of their fellow team mates to “lend the helping hand” in tying this ribbon for them. The proverbial act of tying the knot with its bow will, according to HR Manager Khatija Mahomed, secure a stronger bond in a fun manner and boost mutual support for one another. She adds “it’s difficult to try and tie a bow on your own wrist, but through asking for help it is a sign of trust and respect – very similar to our guests who visit us and ask for assistance in creating memorable experiences.”
Apart from the grey ribbons worn (grey being the corporate colour of South of Africa), this day will also mark South of Africa lending a special hand to someone within the group who desperately requires it. Johannah Nthudisane, 47, is a housekeeper at the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 on the right side. She was sadly rediagnosed with cancer on the left side after undergoing a biopsy in March 2017. Having full empathy for this tragic time in her life, South of Africa will be treating her and her family on this special day to an all-expenses paid outing of fun and frivolity before starting with chemo on 24 April. MD Stef Venter says “South of Africa knows full well the strain that this places on her and her family, and we wanted to spoil her with a day on the town where she didn’t have to worry about anything except creating memories with her loved ones.” Nthudisane will be medically boarded for a year once she commences with chemo.
Venter adds that “the true meaning behind South of Africa Day is a simple task that we should all carry act out every day – being kind to our fellow man and living in harmony in the same spirit set out by Madiba for our rainbow nation.”