#PlacesthatMatter: Isithebe, South Africa
For at least 6 centuries, many set their name upon this territory. The immense region where our factory is located is called KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu means “place of the Zulu” while Natal refers to the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama who landed on this coast on 25 December 1497.
And then there is Durban, the second largest city in South Africa, 100 kilometres from Isithebe, named in honour of Sir Benjamin d’Urban, the English governor in 1935. The English are also responsible for the immense sugar cane plantations covering the hills that, with the first breath of wind, move like waves on the sea, or better, like waves on the Indian Ocean.
We opened our factory in 1975. We have been Whirlpool since 1996 and have always produced refrigerators. During the years of apartheid, finally abolished in 1994, many of our workers did not even have electricity. Today many things have changed with the firm, from the level of safety in the plant to its culture, social influence and productivity.
In 2015 and 2016, we achieved results that exceeded all our expectations. Also in 2016, we were among the finalists for the KwaZulu-Natal Productivity Awards. To reach these goals, we created a training centre and a medical clinic inside the factory, because health and work are basic rights of every man. Whatever the colour of our skin and whatever our role, we firmly believe in the maxim that every Zulu mother tells her children: Ayikwo Inkono Yobuthongo; if you want to obtain great results, you have to sweat.