To the Point with the Kaif coffee guy

Many of us see him every-day, but few people stop to say more than “hello”. Bianca Silva talks to Mcebisi Heleni, the man who serves you your coffee-and-a-sandwich at the Kaif.

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Q: What’s your name?
A: Mcebisi Heleni.

Q: Where do you come from?
A: Grahamstown, Grahamstown in the township.

Q: How long have you been working at Rhodes?
A: I’ve been working here for the past eight months.

Q: Where did you work before that?
A: I worked at the Rhodes University Legal Aid clinic as a messenger.

Q: And your role at the Kaif, what do you do generally?
A: Um, I’m a cashier, I make sure the fridges are full of cooldrinks and I always make sure there is coffee ready for the customers.

Q: When is your birthday?
A: My birthday is the first of July.

Q:  And what’s a normal day at the kaif like for you?
A: A normal day is like a busy day for us. I mean we don’t have that time to chill out and relax and its always busy busy busy, and you know its very good for me because we communicate with lots of people lots of different people coming from different places

Q: So do you talk with a lot of students? Is it a lot of lecturers as well?
A: Ja, sure. Lots of lecturers and students

Q: Have you studied at all?
A: Um no

Q: Would you ever plan to study? If so what would you study?
A: I would like to study but I don’t know in the near future maybe I will do something.

Q: Is there anything you would like to study?
A: Ah, ya, the love of my life is journalism. I would like to study journalism.

Q: Everyone wants to know, what’s your secret to smiling everyday? You’re always smiling.
A: You know what it is the thing is, when I wake up in the morning I always tell myself that even if I have my problems back at home, because I’m going to see different people, I have to smile, for the sake of myself and for the sake of the business. You know when you’re working with people especially in the business industry you’ve got to be always smiling. So that people don’t run away from you but come back a lot more.

Q: And students, what do you think of them? Do you like them, do they treat you well?
A: I don’t know, the students treat me very well. You know, they’re very respectful, more than anything else. They know how to talk to other people. Even amongst them, I’ve never heard anyone shouting at each another so I can say that they have a very good relationship.

Q: Ok a couple of random questions. Do you like coffee?
A: Ya I like coffee.

Q: What’s your favourite kind of coffee?
A: I like Ricoffy, I’d rather drink Ricoffy than the filter coffee.

Q: What’s your favourite snack?
A: A sandwhich is fine for me. A chicken mayo sandwich is fine.

Q: Toasted or plain?
A: Toasted, yes.

Q: What would your dream job be?
A:  My dream job would be to manage a business, a big business.

Q: A business dealing with?
A: Dealing with people mostly, dealing with whatever *hard to hear*

Q: So you like people?
A: Ja, I like people. As long as I’m going to interact with people, it’s ok

Q: What would you say your favourite thing about the Kaif is?
A: It’s meeting different people, everyday. Everyday. I meet new people everyday and you know the thing is even if I have problems I get here and that problem goes away because I know I’m going to smile and laugh the whole day here.

Q: What would you say your favourite memory of the Kaif is?
A: I don’t have any specific moment. I mean, every, every, every moment is my favourite moment here at the Kaif. It’s like on a Friday afternoon when I have to go home I just feel sad because I know I will be missing a lot of things here. You know, it’s more special when it’s busy. I, I get very excited when its busy because that means a lot of business for us.

Q: The Kaif is very busy. Do you have a most embarrassing moment?
A: Um no. I don’t have one.

Q: What makes you laugh?
A: Um, you know, when I’m working and someone orders something and I go to the shelves and put my hands on my head because I can’t remember what they ordered. So that makes me laugh. And when I turn back and look at the customer. The customer is laughing also. So that’s the funniest moment.

Q: Do you find it easy to chat to the students? Do you find there are some you chat to a lot more than with others?
A: Ya, sometimes I chat to them about sports and their studies sometimes, you know different kinds of things. Most often about the things that happen here on campus.

Q: Would you say you’ve had friendships with the students?
A: No, I just chat to them. I just chat to everyone who comes to the Kaif. I don’t have any specific individual that I chat to.

Q: What would you think, just from chatting to students, what the biggest issue at Rhodes is?
A: The biggest issue here at Rhodes is, you know its that Rhodes has got everything, everything. The most challenging part is that the students have got to take advantage of everything they get to. Like, you know Rhodes has got facilities, sport facilities, academic facilities and stuff. So one thing I know is that if you have everything in front of you, then you’ve got to make sure that you use every opportunity to get to it. So that is the most challenging, Rhodes has got everything only the people will have to do everything to get what they want.

Q: Very True. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A: In the next ten years I see myself owning my own business

Q: In Grahamstown or….?
A: Ja, here in Grahamstown. Nowhere else. I like Grahamstown.

Q: If you ever had to travel, where would you want travel to?
A: I would like to go to Cape Town.

Q: What languages do you speak?
A: I speak, Xhosa, English and a bit of Afrikaans and a bit of Sotho.

Q: And if you had to rename the Kaif, would you give it another name?
A: I don’t think there would be another name I think the one that there is now, the Day Kaif is such a good name.

Q: Do you like it?
A: Ya, and it relates to our business times because we’re only open during the day, we don’t open in the evenings.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A:  I don’t know, I just like talking to people and that’s the only thing, reading magazines and stuff, watching TV.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Ja, soccer. Soccer is one of my hobbies and reading newspapers.

Q: What do you like to read?
A: Newspapers, any newspaper that comes my way.

Q: So Activate as well *laugh*?
A: Ja, including Activate.

Q:  What’s your favourite book?
A: My favourite book is you know, the Nelson Mandela autobigography: A long walk to freedom. I’ve read it more than two times.

Q: You must have seen some very interesting things happen around the kaif, I mean its always packed with students doing funny things. What would you say, what is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen a student do?

A: You know there was this one moment one guy was talking to his friend and you know, so so, I think his friend told him something that he never expected so he jumped and he was standing all over the tables here. He was running all over the place so he was so amazed.

Off the point:

Q:  If you were a day of the week, which one would you be?
A: I would love to be Friday.

Q: What’s you favourite word?
A: Thank you. Thank you is my favourite word.

Q: What animal do you think best represents the Rhodes Student body?
A: A horse. I just think a horse is very active, and you’ve never seen a horse walking slowly, a horse is always running, so that is how Rhodes is.

Q: Which actress would you most like to see, come visit Rhodes?
A: Charlize Theron.

Q: What is the first thing that runs through your mind when you wake up in the mornings?
A:  The fact that I am going to come here and open the doors and talk to people, ever smiling people of Rhodes University.

Q: What season do you think best describes you and why?
A: Summer. You know, you know in summer I am always happy because I can wear clothes freely, I don’t have to put a lot of clothes on my body.

Q: If you were re-incarnated as someone, who would it be?
A: Nelson Mandela.

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One Response to To the Point with the Kaif coffee guy

  1. Random says:

    Please be careful when you’re cutting people out from the background. It looks quite bad in a few places in this edition. Use feather to make the edges softer.

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