Dalokuhle grew up in Khayelitsha and matriculated in 2015. For a while, he didn’t know what to do, sitting around the house and relying on his grandmother for financial support. He signed up for a hospitality course at an non-profit institute, but was reluctant and doubtful. “It was not something I was passionate about at first, but then as I got introduced to it I started to like it a lot.” He went on to enroll at a hotel school and began training for the hospitality industry, but was forced to drop out of the school when he was no longer able to afford the education.
“After moving from the hotel school I lost hope. I didn’t know where to go, how to start.” Dalokuhle was scrolling through his phone and saw an advertisement for the Amy Foundation’s YSD programmes. He immediately applied for hospitality and was accepted soon after. “I came here and they gave me hope. They made sure I could do this, and that I also had the confidence, so that even if there is something bad happening, I can still succeed.” He completed the hospitality programme in 2019, but still visits the foundation offices regularly. “Amy Foundation for me is like a family. So each and every now and then I need to go to them and just tell them where I’ve been, how I’ve been doing…They really care for me. And it’s not like they just care when I’m here. Even when I’m home, even in this COVID-19 period they called me to come and collect food parcels.”
After finishing the programme at the Amy Foundation, Dalokuhle was connected to an employment opportunity at the Grand Africa Cafe, where he worked as a runner for six months. After experiencing the reality of the hospitality industry, Dalokuhle fell in love with the excitement and the pressure, and was determined to learn more in order to advance his career. “My plan is to gain as much experience for the future. Just to explore the kitchen or the cheffing industry as a whole, because I’m really in love with it.” He applied for and is currently attending the Cooktastic Hub, a non-profit that furthers hospitality training and sets up employment opportunities, similar to the Amy Foundation. After about three and half months of training there, Dalokuhle is preparing for an exam to qualify him as a sous chef. He hopes to open his own take-away restaurant and further be able to support his grandmother and siblings.
Outside of cooking, Dalokuhle loves to perform. He is an active part of his local community theatre in Khayelitsha and can often be found acting in the most recent productions. “I do music, poetry, dance, and acting… I’ve been doing it for so many years.” His passion and talent for the arts carries through to his culinary skills, and he hopes his skills will benefit the community. His ultimate goal, after all the cooking and the acting, is to become a teacher. “One of my dreams is to teach, because I believe that I’ve got leadership skills…I want to teach all the information that I have, all the information that I am getting now.” The staff and his fellow alumni at the Amy Foundation are proud of what Dalokuhle has becoming, and the foundation will continue to support him long after he finishes his hospitality training.
*Written by Indigo Knights in 2021, based on an interview with Dalokuhle.