Frontline staff series: healthy food and meeting people

31/08/2020

Catering Services Chef Nyaniso Tshiki, cashier Linda Cikido and driver Barcelona Mvinjelwa are working hard on campus. Here are their stories.

Ensuring healthy food

One of the major essential services at the University during the COVID-19 pandemic is the Catering Services, ensuring that students do not go to bed hungry.

Chef Nyaniso Tshiki, 26, along with his team have been working tirelessly to ensure they provide clean and healthy food to students.

Chef Nyaniso has been working for the institution at North Campus since 2019 and gives his all because of his love and passion for his job. 

“Some of us wake up around 04:00 to get ready for the day as we have to prepare about 150 food portions a day, ready to be served,” said Nyaniso.

He also added they have always practiced good hygiene, even before COVID-19, and they now continue with sanitising hands and surfaces, wearing masks and practicing social distancing to ensure the food is safe.

Despite being at a high risk of contracting the virus as a frontline worker, Nyaniso’s love and dedication for cooking saw him getting permanent employment by the University during the Level 3 Lockdown period.

Loving her students

“I love my students,” says Linda Cikido, 47, who works as a cashier at the Charlotte Maxeke (Lebombo)/Hector Pieterson (Letaba) kitchen on North Campus serving about 100 students a day at the moment, much less than usually. 

She also helps in the kitchen to prepare food, working from 7am to 4pm.  She admits though that being a cashier is her first love as she loves the interaction with the students.

“I am very happy to be back at work as it is very safe with all the personal protection equipment. Also, only five students are allowed inside at a time for social distancing.  I was very frustrated by doing nothing at home. 

Linda has been with the University since 2015 and used to work at KFC, Woolworths and Fedics before.  

Meeting different people

Barcelona Mvinjelwa (28), who is now a driver for Catering Services, has been working at the University since April 2014 as a waiter for Catering Services at the Second Avenue Campus Business School. 

Interestingly, Barcelona was born on the 25th of July 1992, on the same day as the opening of the 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona, which is how he got his name.

“The favourite aspect of my job is that I get to meet different people from all walks of life.”

Since Lockdown Level 4, he has been back on campus on a rotational basis.

“Covid-19 has introduced us to a whole new way of life, but I’ve learned that taking care of ourselves is the key to staying safe,” he says.

Barcelona worked at the Boardwalk prior to joining the University.