In less than eight years, Tapiwa Munyawiri went from being a hotel porter to managing Asian-fusion restaurant Yu, due to open its doors soon. The restaurant is at the four-star Onyx hotel on Cape Town’s foreshore.
The thirty-year-old ascribes his success to persistence and consistency.
“There were many late nights waitering to cover my university fees, and every holiday I would work with my uncle Doug who had trucks crossing the Zimbabwe-South Africa border.”
Munyawiri, originally from Zimbabwe, started as a hotel porter at Riverside Sun, Vanderbijlpark, in 2011 and within a year was promoted to receptionist at the front desk.
“My aim was to set my foot in the door, doesn’t matter what position they were offering me.”
He worked his way through the ranks, ending up as food and beverage department supervisor at Garden Court Hatfield, in Pretoria.
From there he briefly tried starting his own catering business in 2016, but joined Unilever Food Solutions in 2018.
“I came down to Cape Town for training near the end of 2018 and immediately fell in love with the city,” Munyawiri says. “I knew I had to move here.”
Without any interviews lined up, Munyawiri flew to the city in February. He was hired on the spot by Onyx as the restaurant manager when he knocked on the door.
“It will be a great challenge to manage a large group of people for the first time, but I am beyond excited to make a success of it.
As for future dreams, Munyawiri says he believes he’ll move more and more into the kitchen.
‘I don't see myself piloting a desk with a computer into retirement - but cultivating and growing my love for cooking,” Munyawiri says.
“I see myself as of the big names to come from Zimbabwe, laying the bricks for the future generations of Zimbabwe, and Africa as a whole to follow.”
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