From cleaner to tour guide to awards shortlist

PASSION AND PURPOSE: Asanda Mbaxa has been shortlisted in Tourist Guide category of the Lilizela Tourism Awards. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Steve Biko Centre’s Asanda Mbaxa, a tour guide and educational assistant officer, has gained honours at being shortlisted in the prestigious national Lilizela Tourism Awards.

The awards celebrate various tour operators, sites and hospitality individuals and organisations that fly the flag high in international waters.

“It’s only now that the depth of this nomination is sinking in,” Mbaxa said.

“Last week, I got a call from the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency telling me that I’d been shortlisted in the category,” she said.

Mbaxa joined the Steve Biko Centre in 2013 as a cleaner, and was quickly promoted to being a receptionist and then as to a tour guide.

“I didn’t know about tour guiding nor the jargon,” Mbaxa said.

“I took it upon myself to learn more, and it’s taken me to other fields such as marketing.

“It’s also allowed me to attend the annual tourism indaba,” she said.

At first, she was offered the When she was first offered the receptionist vacancy, she and turned it down, feeling that she was not good enough for the job.

“We need to stop undermining jobs such as being a cleaner, and rather grab the opportunity with both hands and put 100% percent effort into it,” she said, as it could lead to something more.

A typical day for her includes bookings and museum tours, which she prides herself on doing, research and being open to listen to visitor’s viewpoints for growth.

Steve Biko Foundation chief operations officer Bruce Waters said all the thousands of national and international visitors to the centre had have benefited from Mbaxa’s knowledge and assistance.

“Asanda has displayed the qualities of a winner. We wish her success in the competition and a well-deserved win,” Waters said.

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