Charmaine grew up in a small town in the Klein Karoo called Zoar, and was just 18 years old when she left the Karoo to look for work in Cape Town.
“I was 18 years old when I moved to Mitchells Plain, and I still live there to this day,” says Charmaine. “I came to Cape Town because there was no work that side. All the jobs were in Cape Town. I found a job at Jordan Shoes in Elsies [River] and I worked there for 18 years before joining UCT,” she says.
She joined UCT in 2000 on contract to SuperCare.
“I started working at UCT in March 2000 as a cleaner and I've been doing other general work as well. I have now been here for 16 years,” says Charmaine.
Although she started working on upper campus, Charmaine moved down to Welgelegen on lower campus after a few months and has been based there for the past 16 years.
“They were looking for a reliable person,” she explains.
This week, the mother of three will finally join the UCT family, and she is looking forward to the difference insourcing will make to her financial situation.
“I have been a widow for 32 years, so it is tough being a single parent. My children depend on me,” says Charmaine. “I feel more secure and I'm looking forward to the benefits. I was on contract with SuperCare, which was renewed every five years, but now I will be a permanent staff member.”
She is also looking forward to the benefits that UCT offers its employees.
“I'm excited. It's more money for us, which will help my financial situation. And now we have medical aid and a retirement fund,” say Charmaine.
She is a perfectionist who ensures the Welgelegen building is constantly spotless.
“I love everything about my work; that is why I make sure I'm always early at work and don't take unnecessary days off,” says Charmaine.
To make this possible, Charmaine wakes up at 02:45 every day. At 03:50 she heads off to the taxi rank to catch the first taxi to Mowbray at about 04:10. She arrives at Welgelegen at 05:00.
“I arrive at work at about 05:00 and open the windows, switch on the heaters and make sure that when people arrive everything is clean and they are comfortable,” she says. “I love my work and everything I do. I'm passionate about what I'm doing; that's why I come in early.”
In her time off, she enjoys bonding with her children.
“My daughter, who is the eldest, is married and stays in Fish Hoek, so I'm also a grandmother,” she says with a cheerful smile.
The two boys still stay at home with Charmaine.
“I'm always busy during the week with work, so I spend time and bond with them over the weekend, and we love watching movies together,” she says.
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