History is Made: The First Qualified Baristas to Come Out of Shabalala Trust

I am Njabulo Mashele, one of two barista trainers at Good Work Foundation’s (GWF). On the 24th of January 2015, my colleague, Teaman Manzini, and I started training students to qualify as baristas. This was through the help of vida e caffè, a South African coffee brand that aims to be recognised as an expert at amplifying the customer experience).

Earlier in the year, vida e caffè assisted GWF’s Hazyview Digital Learning Centre (HDLC, located in rural Shabalala Trust) with the setup of an espresso bar to provide a practical platform from which we could train funky, new South African coffee experts. Prior to all of this, Teaman and I were trained by vida e caffè in Sandton (Johannesburg) on how to be baristas and how to train others to be baristas. We also completed a comprehensive coffee course through the Lobster Ink online hospitality platform.


Good Work Foundation’s team of hospitality experts and baristas-in-training.

The GWF and vida e caffè barista course, which formed part of the Hospitality Academy’s further study offerings, ran for a month with theory and practical lessons. I covered the theory and Teaman was on base for all practical lessons and we successfully trained eight baristas. Throughout the course we took tours with the baristers-in-training, including to the local Sabie Valley Coffee.


Njabulo Mashele introduces the basics of coffee at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre.


Zanele Mohlale’s first time on the “machinery”.

Sabie Valley is a place that offers coffee tours, showing the complete method of manufacturing coffee, including the complex roasting process, and giving visitors the chance to taste the finished product. I recall one of my students asking “can you believe that coffee is the most consumed liquid in the world following water?” Something that we were never aware of. Thanks to Tim Buckland from Sabie Valley and his team for their warmest hospitality.

Teaman and I had the privilege of supervising our students when making coffee for our guests and visitors, such as GWF’s partners and trustees, visitors from the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and, on more than one occasion, visiting education specialists from overseas.

Our baristas obtained their vida e caffè certificates in a graduation ceremony that took place on the 17th of April 2015.

I am confident that Mpumalanga’s newest baristas are also Mpumalanga’s best baristas and would be an asset to any establishment in our tourism-dense area that is looking to upgrade its services for an international clientele. Whether it’s a flat white or a perfect cappucino, this young team would knock it out of the park.

Obrigado vida e caffè! Thank you for giving South Africa’s rural talent the opportunity to show that they are as good, if not better, than the rest.


Njabulo Mashele


Back row, from left: Jesta Manzini, Camelia Mhaule, Nkateko Maphanga, Nelisiwe Chiloane, Zanele Mohlala, Thulile Mgwenya. Bottom row, from left: Walter Khumalo, Teaman Manzini and Njabulo Mashele