Twenty years ago on 28 October 1996, HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh unveiled the foundation stone of the Southern African Wildlife College. To mark this special occasion and the tremendous growth the College has achieved over the years, the SAWC’s Executive Management team decided to pay homage to its staff by also instituting Long Service Awards to commemorate the day.
To celebrate these achievements, a fun day was held by all with the College’s African Field Ranger Services Division setting up a “round robin” obstacle course on the soccer field. All staff participated, with a team from the maintenance division coming out tops.
This was followed by the Long Service Awards to honour employees, some of whom have been with the College since those early days. Nine staff members were honoured for their 15 year plus commitment given that they were initally contracted by Fedics and only became permanent staff members a few years later. These loyal employees included Idah Mnisi, Grace Ndlovu, Willys Zitha and Victor Seale, who all hail from the adjacent Welverdiend community which the College is also actively involved in across various community projects.
“Receiving the award made me so happy and showed me that my 15 years at the College were of importance. It has given me power to hope and to ask God to bless me with another 15 years of serving the College,” said Idah Mnisi. “Working at the College has been such a pleasure, and has changed my life in a positive way as I used to work for a crèche in my community without any benefits, and as a single parent it was hard. Ever since I joined the College my life, as well as my children’s lives have changed. One of my children received a qualification at the College and is now working. I am thankful to the College; words cannot express how grateful I am,” she added.
Grace Ndlovu added to Idah’s sentiments as she expressed how the awards have inspired all of them. “It means a lot to me and it has encouraged me to always work harder. Being at the College has changed my life. I started working here as a housekeeping assistant. From there I developed my career and experience in different departments taking on several positions over the years including Receptionist, Project Administrator, Resource Centre Officer and Long Course Coordinator. Currently I work as a Database Administrator and I'm still looking forward to climbing the career ladder in future,” she said.
The awards have certainly improved staff morale, this is evident when Victor Seale speaks of the events of the day. “I have never received anything like this in my life, I will forever remember this day, the golden eagle and long service money was such a shock and so unexpected. I am encouraged to work harder towards building the College. I’m very happy and wish management continues doing for others as they have done for us.” “I have enjoyed working at the College all these years, they have treated us well. Also my house is nearby, and I am able to go home to my family every night after work,” he added.
Employees who received Long Service Awards included:
Issued by: The Southern African Wildlife College