Hluhluwe River Lodge has been a home to many staff over the past years. Some come and go, and some stay for a while, building memories with us as time goes by. One of those staff members is Sindisiwe Hlstshwayo, known affectionately to us as Sindy.
Sindy has been with us since the very beginning. She began working on the property in 1995, when the lodge was only a hopeful dream to Mervyn and Gavin Dickson. During the building of the lodge, Sindy was working long hard hours in the blistering African sun; she sought out certain plants and shrubs in the bush, dug them out and brought them back to be planted. So began her journey with Hluhluwe River Lodge. After the lodge was completed, Sindy stayed in and took over the role of gardener. It is thanks to her (and many others) that we have such beautiful grounds surrounding us at this very moment.
In 1996, one year after starting work, Sindy was promoted to scullery maid which she was overjoyed about as it was 1 step closer to where she wanted to be- the kitchen. After putting her head down, and proving herself time after time, she finally started climbing her way further up the ladder.
Sindy has never had any training regarding cooking. When she was growing up, she used to watch her grandmother intently, soaking up all the wise knowledge she had to share. She then imparted this knowledge onto Gavin’s eldest child Kelsey, who loves to bake and has a ball in the kitchen making cupcakes for all us staff to test (lucky us). Sindy was here when Kelsey was born, and later on when Rourke came along, many days were spent watching the kids grow, and she eventually bestowed upon them Zulu nicknames, which are remembered fondly to this day: Hlathikhulu (fat cheeks) for Kelsey, & Sqaxa (fat pumpkin) for Rourke. She has definitely watched the Hluhluwe River Lodge family grow in leaps and bounds.
From gardener, to scullery maid, waitress to assistant chef, Sindy is now proudly the head-chef of Hluhluwe River Lodge. So many guests remark on the delectable food that comes out the kitchen, and they wonder in thought as to whom could be behind the scenes. Not many guests get to meet out wonderful Sindy, as she is extremely modest and does what she enjoys and does best- she cooks. Never is there a dull moment when she is around, her smile radiates around the kitchen like a bright beam of sunlight. As long as our guests are happy and satisfied, so is she.
So next time you visit us here at Hluhluwe River Lodge, think of her when you smell the amazing aroma’s wafting out the kitchen, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to meet the elusive, and wonderful Sindisiwe Hlatshwayo.