Cruise trip of a lifetime
DUDUZILE Ngwenya dreams of the day she opens her first spa in an orphanage, exposing young women to a life beyond their imagination.
A somatologist (beauty therapist) by profession, Ngwenya, 23, went on an epic journey around the world and returned home brimming over with tales of amazement.
Ngwenya's life-changing voyage of discovery was made possible by an Afrisun East Rand Community Trust and Carnival City goodwill initiative which gave 10 South African women, who come from disadvantaged communities, a two-year bursary to study somatology and hairdressing.
Ngwenya was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to work for a leading global spa brand, Steiner, aboard its international cruise ships.
"I learned that people from other countries are no different from us. How a person who has nothing and a person who has something can do the same thing. That was the biggest experience for me," she said.
Since departing last year, Ngwenya has travelled to more than 40 countries including the Bahamas, Jamaica and the US.
"I have learned to appreciate my country," she said.
When she touched down in Jacksonville, US, she divulged that she hailed from South Africa that, she said, led to her being literally sidelined.
"They thought I was in need of something and that I was a charity case. Some woman even asked me if we have hot water where I come from," she said with a wry smile.
The course she undertook is internationally accredited by City and Guild in London. It was run by the Rene Institute of Beauty Therapy.
"We worked closely with people from all over the world. I learnt so much about other cultures. The hours were long, but I will never forget the experience and no-one can remove it from my mind," she said.
Ngwenya says she is not certain about what the future holds for her. But she says she does hope to one day open her own spa, which she would use as a means of giving back to orphaned young women in the community.