Orphaned in his teens, Phakamisa Kolisi learned to cook when he was left alone to look after himself and his younger brother.
Both siblings were passionate about expressing their creative gifts, with the younger brother going into the creative arts industry, and Phakamisa making waves in the hospitality industry.
In 2007, Phakamisa heard about the Umzi Wethu hospitality academy in Port Elizabeth, and decided to apply for a scholarship. His previous experience in the theatre gave him the confidence to excel in the initial interview, and after the selection trail, he was selected as one of the students for the third intake of the Umzi Wethu academy.
After living alone with his brother, the experience of the residence with almost 20 other students was something that Phakamisa loved most about his year at the academy. “Residence was one of the best things. We became like family. Because of Umzi, we all became successful today. I stay in touch with my fellow graduates and I love to hear about what they’re doing in life.”
Practical training in the kitchens and front of house service were two of Phakamisa’s favourite aspects of Umzi Wethu. He remembers clearly the day that he discovered quiche and lasagne. “I love cooking quiche, it is delicious! When I cook for my brother, I make lasagne.”