– by Cherisa Swanepoel

Vuyokazi took part in the Work for A Living and Red Band programmes through the Father’s House Foundation back in 2015. The Red Band Academy exists to provide industry-standard training and job placement in the field of specialist coffee production. Their primary goal is to equip candidates with the skills and personal resources to find meaningful employment in the professional coffee industry. They create concrete working opportunities for people from disempowered environments. 

A future for everyone
Her journey started with the Work for a Living (W4AL) programme and escalated from there. Vuyokazi is currently working for the Seattle Coffee Company in Port Elizabeth, and loves her job. Vuyokazi is expecting a baby girl in September this year, and feels so grateful for the opportunities she has received following the courses she participated in. She is truly an inspiration to many and a light to so many unemployed individuals by showing them that there is hope, and there is a future for everyone.

Excellence and quality in all things
Vuyokazi grew up in the Ciskei area, but moved to Port Elizabeth in 1997. Her childhood isn’t a pleasant memory, she wouldn’t say it was a good one. She grew up without her mother, and was raised by her mother’s extended family. Growing up, she felt she did not have many opportunities to better her situation. She feels that her past is definitely the biggest thing that has shaped her, because she always tries to live the life that she never had. She really believes the Work for a Living and Red Band courses were attributing factors to who she is today as they taught her to have excellence and quality in everything she does.


There is always a way
What she loves most about her job is definitely the people! She loves people, and she loves coffee, so her favourite part of her job is getting to do both every day. A word of encouragement that she would like to leave young people who feel hopeless or stuck in their situation is to remember there is always hope in any situation, you just need to decide that you want to put in the hard work to get unstuck. There is always a way, even if you don’t have a good education.

Everything is an opportunity
Vuyokazi’s inspiration comes from the customers she serves every day. It’s not always easy working with people, but when she sees someone happy, it makes her happy – and if she sees someone sad, it gives her an opportunity to make their day better. A good cup of coffee brings out the best in people.

God is her rock
God plays a huge and vital role in Vuyokazi’s life. She feels like she owes God a lot, because He has given her so much. She loves going to church and telling people what He has done in her life, and she hopes it encourages them and inspires them.

Just trust in God
Her favourite Bible verse Isaiah 57:13, she says it is always in her heart. “When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away. But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.” This verse reminds her to always trust God, and if you trust in Him, somehow it will be fine. “Everything that is bothering you, will go with the wind if you trust Him,” she says. 

Loving her children like Christ
Vuyokazi wants her children to have what she never had. She wants them to have a future, and a good life. She wants them to study. This is very important to her – It is so important that she even takes a portion of her salary and puts it in a fund so that they have the opportunity that they deserve. She knows that she can’t choose their future for them, but she can do her part to make it as hopeful as she can. She hopes her children will have respect for others and love people the way she loves them, and the way Jesus calls us to love others.

Final thoughts from Vuyokazi:
“We all make mistakes, we are human, but there is always hope for each of us. God has a plan, trust Him. I always want to encourage people to always love people and to always educate themselves as much as they can, and that even if they do not have the proper education that they need, there is a way to make a good life by putting yourself out there and finding something you love. That is what Red Band Academy did for me.”

Ryan Le Roux is the Managing Director of the Leva Foundation, an NGO that operates under the Father’s House Church and offers programmes to the under privileged, equipping them with training. Visit levafoundation.org

JOY! Magazine (October  2018)

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