From Cook To Conductor - Meet Our Floor Supervisor Nontobeko
Sometimes the right people are in the right place at the right time. It doesn’t happen often, but in the case of Nontobeko Nhleko, that is exactly what occurred.
Black Mamba was starting to expand and production had reached a point where they needed more hands on deck to cope. Claudia (CEO) asked their then-cook, Zanele, to bring someone along to help. And so began the career of Black Mamba’s Floor Supervisor!
Initially, Nontobeko was hired as a cook, but over the years her eagerness and potential grew her position. “Nontobeko is a great team member”, Claudia says. “She’s always helpful, always happy, and she’s always eager to learn. She also now has full knowledge of everything that happens in the factory and thrives as the right hand of our Production Manager, Bongie."
However, Nontobeko's journey has not always been an easy one. A single mother of six children, she joined Black Mamba in January 2013. Here, she dedicated herself to learning the ins and outs of production, as well as the regulations for food safety. She acquired computer literacy skills, and over her 9 years with the company grew into the exceptionally competent manager she is today.
She really enjoys her job too. She’s responsible for quality checks, tracking and completing production forms and procedure forms, and still cooks in between! She fully appreciates the product, and not just in a professional capacity. Before she joined the team she never ate chillies. “I was scared of chillies. In the beginning, I only used to eat our Jalapeno sauce and now I find it too mild!” she announces proudly. That’s dedication!
Nontobeko's bubbly attitude has carried her through challenges, both in the workplace and at home. Through her hard work, she has provided for her oldest daughter to attend the Christian College in Swaziland where she’s studying to become a doctor! She’s the second person in her family to attend university (her niece is the first one).
Nontobeko's job provides more than just financial stability for herself and her family. In the predominantly patriarchal society of Eswatini, it’s not very common to find independent women. She confidently explains that she doesn’t need a man and she can fend for herself through her own endeavours. Nothing could be more thrilling to witness for Claudia! As an empowered businesswoman herself, she experiences (in her words) a special joy to see another woman empowered as well.