Basela empowered with butchering skills

Songezo Basela in action.

When Mfuleni resident Songezo Basela first arrived in Cape Town, he found himself employed as a minibus taxi driver. However, a chance meeting with someone who worked in a Checkers butchery reminded him of his interest in meat.

He submitted his CV to the Shoprite Group’s recruitment hub and was accepted into the one-year butchery learnership programme, covering modules such as hygiene and safety, meat processing and production as well as meat cutting.

The group annually trains some 200 people to ensure an adequate supply of talent into its many butcheries across the country.

Mr Basela, 34, completed one of the two butchery training streams offered by the group and today heads up the butchery at Checkers Willowbridge in Durbanville.

He grew up in Xesi near Alice in the Eastern Cape and always wondered about meat cuts when shopping at his local supermarket.

“The cuts we produced at home and those in the supermarket were very different. I was interested to know why and would at times ask the person behind the counter how they got their cuts to look like that,” he said.

“I enjoyed every aspect of my training,” said Mr Basela, a father of two, who completed the learnership in 2009.

He worked in various positions before being appointed trainee manager at Checkers Willowbridge in 2015. Eight months later he was promoted to butchery manager.