Waitrose Foundation At Work

Inspirational story: From crèche attendee to employee at Dennegeur Farms in Grabouw

Januarie 2024

We had the opportunity to visit Dennegeur in Grabouw in late November and had a chat to Lisakanya Gangatela (21) who works in the crèche. She was born in the Eastern Cape but grew up on the farm. Both her parents worked on the farm.

Since August 2022 she’s been working at the Dennegeur crèche, under the supervision and direction from Mercila Scholtz who looked after Lisakanya when she was in the crèche herself. What a journey! Needless to say, a strong bond and mutual trust developed between them over the years and Lisakanya has a deep sense of gratitude for Mercila’s guidance during her upbringing on the farm and now also as employee at the crèche.

Lisakanya attended Dennegeur Primary and then went on to Grabouw High. After high school, she took a gap year. During that time, Carina van Wyk, CEO of the Dennegeur Foundation, approached Lisakanya to assist at the crèche from time to time and this eventually developed into a fulltime position, incorporating various training courses which are still ongoing. She currently receives funding and support to study her ECD Level 4 at the Elgin College. Lisakanya is responsible for the babies between the age of 3 and 12 months. At the time of our meeting, she had 11 little ones in her care on weekdays.

Although the Waitrose Foundation supports various projects at Dennegeur, Lisakanya’s first awareness of the Foundation only came when she was in grade 4. Through the Rural Arts Network (R.A.N), she became part of the marimba band programme and had the opportunity to go on youth camps, various excursions, and even to events held in Johannesburg. She also assisted R.A.N. during her gap year.

Her passion is evident from how she describes what she enjoys most about her work. Her happiest moments are on the days when she can see how her care has a significant impact. As small as the babies are, she can still teach them little things every day. Lisakanya says it is all about love. The babies can sense it and they respond. Eventhough she is not a mother herself, she can give love and knows intuitively when something is wrong. It is then her responsibility to inform the mothers (who work on the farm).

Lisakanya is hopeful for the future and enjoys being part of the growth of the Dennegeur Crèche.