My name is Jacqueline Manyonga, I am 19 years old and I am from Harare, Zimbabwe. I was raised mostly by my mother Dee, as my father passed away when I was very young. As such, she is my role model; she is a very intelligent, strong and successful woman who has built a career in the healthcare and beauty industry in Zimbabwe. My mother studied pharmacy in England at Aston University and set the tone for her children to study abroad. My 27 year old brother Tatenda was awarded a scholarship to Stanford University and completed an economics degree there in 2007. My cousin sister Ingrid quit her job as manager at the prestigious Meikles Hotel in Harare, to manage a very popular family restaurant we recently opened; The African Affair Restaurant. The Restaurant offers both traditional Zimbabwean dishes such as sadza (a mealy paste) and meat and popular “Western” dishes such as fish and chips. Since finishing high school, I have been helping manage the restaurant from the kitchen to the till point.
My passion for the hospitality industry stems mostly from my family and my country. Growing up, cooking and dining are arguably my family’s favourite pastimes besides travelling. We have been blessed in that we have vacationed in various parts of the world, including the United States, England, South Africa, Zanzibar, and Hong Kong. We have been able to experience the different cultures and cuisines of these different countries, and some of the hotels that we stayed at, such as the Vistana Resort in Orlando, simply left me astounded with a desire to one day work at one.
Over the years we have all tried preparing different dishes and desserts from around the world, some from the areas we have visited, others from the large cookery book library in my mother’s kitchen. We have also traveled extensively around Zimbabwe, which historically has been regarded as a tourist hot spot, but has in recent years been blighted by economic and political problems. Nonetheless, we still boast one of the wonders of the world in the majestic Victoria Falls, and we still have some of the most beautiful and scenic wildlife reserves and lodges. Zimbabweans are also regarded as some of the most hospitable and friendliest people, and I think this is certainly true in my family; as evidenced by the many events we host at our beautiful home.
I have chosen to study hospitality at Les Roches to ensure that I get the best training. I have done extensive research on the leading Hospitality institutions in the world, and Les Roches simply outshines the rest. The book “leading Hotels of the World” illuminates Switzerland as having some of the best hotels in the world receiving the best accolades from critics, and is a tourism hub in Europe and indeed the world. Located at the heart of Europe, with its renowned chocolate and cheese, banking and luxury, Switzerland is a perfect place to study Hospitality because it has such a long history of political stability, low crime rates, clean air and a reputation for reliability. Thus, Switzerland would provide me with a magnificent and indeed majestic backdrop for me to study Hospitality at Les Roches.
Most of my friends have already gone off to study various disciplines around the world, and I would love to join the fray from Europe. Some of these friendships helped shape who I am today; most started in the 1st grade! It’s wonderful to see my friends progressing to the next stage in fulfilling their dreams, that is after passing A’ Levels of course! Chelsea is now studying Chemical Engineering at Rhodes University in South Africa, Nina is finishing high school in Denmark before pursuing Economics or Law there, Danielle is going to Bristol University, Nicole to The University of Edinburgh and the rest of them are studying in Cape Town.
We used to study together, party together, even traveled together; we went to Victoria Falls for New Year’s last year. Hopefully, distance won’t dilute our closeness, and summer vacation work and internship opportunities will afford us the opportunity to visit each other.
My Internships will hopefully give me opportunities to work in
different countries around the world, with my real life colleagues
being my teachers. This in turn will give me the confidence to work at my highest level when I eventually graduate. I will have the necessary leadership skills, business administration and, finance and accounting know-how. I will also bring in my own unique perspective from my life in Zimbabwe and trips abroad, my organizational skills and work ethic to the classroom, the kitchen and the hotel in general. Ultimately my goal is to one day successfully manage a hospitality institution, and perhaps even own one. I would also like to play a leading role in the recovery of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry and by extension, the economy in my native Zimbabwe.