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Tinyeleti Ta Vutsonga

Tinyeleti Ta Vutsonga: Xitshembiso Shibambu

Government Name: Xitshembiso Shibambu
AKA: Bilooza
Profession: Chef
Date of Birth: 09- Nov-85
Place of Birth: Giyani
Marital Status: Engaged

Ethnic group: Tsonga
Grouping (Tribe): Valenge (N’wanati)
Totem: Khutla


Va madya fularhela, va tsundzuka n’wana hi ku heta. Fuwela mafuyatha. Tihosi ta Mpfula.  Dzovo xifaki xa le ndleleni va matiko va hundza va kha.
Dzivila vuswa bya n’wahuva byo olova.
I nyoxi ya Malwandla makamela ribyeni.
Va ka xivambula makutla, va suka esingwini ya N’wanati.

Family Background: “The Shibambu’s migrated from Mozambique, e Xai Xai and settled Ka N’wamitwa. They stayed for decades, then my grandfather got a teaching job in Giyani, and that’s when he took his family to Giyani, Ka Mapayeni. We later moved to Giyani section A, that’s where most of us reside now. We are a big family; my grandfather had three wives and had 26 kids.”   

Education History:

  • Khanyisa Education Centre: 90-91
  • Xihlovo: 92-94
  • Ndzalama Primary: 95-96
  • Rivoningo Education Centre: 97-98
  • MEPS: 99-00
  • Waterburg High: 01-03
  • Sedaven High: 03-04
  • University of Johannesburg: 05-08
  • Wits:09-10 
  • Olive Chef School: 11-12

All-time favourite Tsonga Dish: Tshopi na mukhusu
All-time favourite Tsonga Album/Song: “Peter Tenet! All his albums”
All-time favourite Tsonga Township: Giyani
Favourite PSL Team: Kaizer Chiefs
Favourite Animal: Elephant
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

Why did your first Girlfriend/Boyfriend dump you? – “Never been dumped.  I dump.” 

Who gave you your first break? – “Sabi Sabi private game reserve”
Which year was your best year in your career and why?
“2013. At Sabi Sabi game reserve I learned a lot of cooking methods and different menus. I interacted with international guest with the likes of Sir Richard Branson”

Why Cooking? –
“Since I could remember, I was always in love with the kitchen; was always helping out my mom whenever she would be preparing a meal. Also, when she was not around, especially the times when I and my sister were staying with my dad; I’d always experiment in the kitchen, creating different dishes for dad and my sister. Also, dad liked cooking as well so it would be a team effort and it was always fun so I basically grew up cooking.

Come to think of it, after high school I did not go study culinary arts. I did a diploma in property valuation at the University of Johannesburg, even back then I’d always cook and entertain friends with my dishes and they kept on asking me why not go study culinary arts and become a chef. But I was focused on finishing my diploma, after finishing and practicing for a year I noticed I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. So I eventually took the leap of faith to go and peruse my passion, which is cooking. I sat down my parents explained to them, and surprisingly they were very supportive. I enrolled at a culinary school and qualified as a professional chef and from there I never looked back and with no regrets, as I enjoy every moment when I’m in the kitchen. Rumour has it that I was born clutching a wooden spoon…”

How is it like to study culinary arts? –
I studied culinary arts at Olive chef school in Bloemfontein specializing in classical culinary arts; it’s a two year course first year involving theory and practicals. On weekends we would do functions ranging from weddings, private functions, birthdays etc. Then in your second year you are placed in a five star hotel, restaurant or game lodge to do your in service training, and I was blessed to have done my in service training at one of South Africa’s top five game lodges, Sabi Sabi Earth lodge in the Kruger national park. After training you come back to school, write your city and guilds exam and your cooking practical, which is a seven course meal. Then if all goes well, you are a qualified chef and the world becomes you oyster.”

How are you growing your culinary business? –
“For the next three or so I’ll be traveling, working and learning more cuisines around the world. As of next month I’ll be starting with the United States of America in Florida, then Middle East and finally end off in Europe.
And oh yes, when I come back home I’m planning on opening a chain of restaurants and an events company. One day I wish to open my own chef school, so I can help others peruse their culinary dreams.”

What words should we remember you by? – “I cook therefore I am”


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