Bergzicht Training and Development & Development honoured their working alumni on Wednesday, 16 November 2022. Heartfelt expressions of appreciation were accompanied with a joyful and vibrant Celebration Day atmosphere. The prizes awarded to alumni totalled R35 000 in value.

Keynote speaker Marli Goussard, Enterprise Development Consultant at Ranyaka and co-founder of Co-Create Hub quoted Prof. Rudzani Muloiwa from UCT: “The world cannot be changed by those who are unwilling to see the truth about themselves. You are at the beginning of your journey. Always look forward. Your life has meaning. It doesn’t end here for you.” Ms Goussard encouraged every alumni to believe in themselves and to pursue a purpose.

Olivia Gabriels, a 2021 Food Services Assistant (FSA) alumni, took home the Top Achiever award. Olivia said, “I am very proud of myself and so grateful to Bergzicht for all their effort that assisted me to [get] where I am today.” Ms Gabriels is currently assisting Head Chef Charné Sampson at Epice Restaurant in Franschhoek. Her prize, valued at R10 000, was sponsored by Global Accommodation and made possible by CEO Reenen Kok.

Runners-up to the overall Top Achiever award, 2021 FSA alumni Elona Gangqa from the Lanzerac Hotel and 2021 Health & Frail Care alumni Ncebakazi Ndiwa from Spescare (Paarl), shared feelings of overwhelming gratitude. “I learned how to be patient and friendly and to have a way forward,” said Mr Gangqa. “It’s a great achievement for me!” Ms Ndiwa added, “I didn’t expect it. I am so very happy!” Each of the runners-up received a smart phone sponsored by Ackermans.

The programme category winners, Lindokuhle Sibotho from Lanzerac Hotel, Martha Willemse, a Private Carer from Hospicare, and Leatitia Johannes from Cloetesville Primêr, each received a microwave, donated by private sponsors.

Marlene Barnard from the Hanns Seidel Foundation, a long-term Bergzicht funder, said that “it’s just amazing to see all these courageous and inspiring men and women who successfully turned their lives around”. She added: “As a 30-year long-term partner, we couldn’t ask for anything more!”

During the course of the event, Bergzicht paid tribute to 42 working alumni who completed programmes in 2021, as well as two alumni from 2020 who have been employed for one and two years, respectively. Six finalists and three Top Achievers were awarded prizes sponsored by local retailers and private donors.

Bergzicht CEO Renske Minnaar thanked the organisation’s funders and the Celebration Day sponsors for their continued support, which is instrumental in making Bergzicht such a successful and happy place. Ms Minnaar described this special day’s proceedings as “packed with surprises for everyone.”

Attendee Cheryl Farao, Remgro Community Projects Manager, noted that “Bergzicht creates a safe space during their training, an environment where people can grow and develop beyond their training within their careers with long term impact”. She went on to add that “it is also a good return on investment for us as a funder, when you see how many alumni are successful, and the difference they make in the lives of their families and communities”.

Alumni employment retention soared to an all-time high of 73% by September 2022, thanks to the extended support offered to students after employment by Nathalie Skippers, Student Development Manager. This support has been in place since 2019. “It is an honour for me to be able to be part of each and everyone’s journey who enters Bergzicht,” said Ms Skippers. “The visible transformation and sincere gratitude motivate me personally,” she added.

Benita Petersen, Training Manager at Bergzicht, said: “We value job retention as part of our core mandate.” She noted that “this event is also aimed at reinforcing the importance of resilience and self-leadership”.

Michelle Aalbers, Stellenbosch Municipality Community Development Manager, said: “Job retention is the most important measurement of [our] success as funder for the municipality, and it is inspiring to us to hear all of the alumni success stories.”

Acknowledging the many challenges related to obtaining and retaining employment, Kathy Harris, Bergzicht Director, said, “We are incredibly proud of the achievements of all our alumni and today we come together at this wonderful event to celebrate their commitment, perseverance, and successes.”  She also made special mention of the exceptional dedication and effectiveness of the Bergzicht Training and Development & Development team.

Bergzicht Fundraiser Louisa le Roux noted that “the long-term success of beneficiaries is extremely important to Bergzicht and our funders, as this enables families to break the poverty cycle”.

Employers of the finalists also attended the event, including Sister Portia Erasmus, Manager at Spescare, Paarl; Head Chef Charné Sampson from Epice, Franschhoek, and Executive Chef Stephen Fraser from Lanzerac Hotel, Stellenbosch. Mr Fraser described the event as “phenomenal.”

Prospective employers interested in becoming part of supporting career development in Frail Care, Hospitality or Child Care can contact Nathalie Skippers at or 021 8833525.


1. Top achievers and programme category winners for 2022 with restaurant employers.

2. Back from left: Chef Stephen Fraser (Lanzerac); Chef Charné Sampson (Epice Restaurant)
Front from left: Martha Willemse (Category winner – Frail Care); Ncebekazi Ndiwa (second runner up); Olivia Gabriels (overall winner); Elona Gongqa (first runner up); Lindokuhle Sibotho (category winner – FSA); Leatitia Johannes (category winner – Child Care)

3. Health & Frail Care alumni with their prizes from our generous sponsors.

4. The day was full of joy, dancing, music, and laughter.

5. Invitees enjoying the music and prize draw with MC David Jantjies

6. Olivia Gabriels, top achiever of 2022. Olivia is currently assisting Head Chef Charné Sampson at Epice Restaurant in Franschhoek. Her prize, valued at R10 000, was sponsored by Global Accommodation.