After the idea of frozen yoghurt was conceived by an American entrepreneur in the early 1970’s, the popular alternative to ice cream experienced a major upsurge in popularity, thanks largely to a new health craze in the 80’s and 90’s. Inevitably though, the dessert’s star would fade, and frozen yoghurt businesses around the world – including South Africa’s oldest and largest frozen yoghurt maker, Marcel’s – knew they would need a new strategy for the 21st century. They eventually went back to more classic flavours, and their shops began providing a multitude of topping choices, bringing new life into a market that has continued to thrive.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say – and the value, quality, or truth of something must be judged based on direct experience or on its results, so the owners of Marcel’s entrusted the future of the dessert brand to current MD, Nicole Bruwer-Westvig, who built a team of resolute and creative individuals around her, including Zinta Coetzer, now an Accountant at CEO. “I worked with Nicole at Marcel’s for six years,” Zinta recalls. “She believed in me and invested a lot of time in me to help me grow. I will always be grateful for that. She remains one of the biggest inspirations I’ve had in my adult life.”
Nicole, like the management of CEO, recognised the qualities of trustworthiness and determination in Zinta who, despite many challenges in her life, has always fought her way to the top with truth, honesty and grit. Indeed, when asked, Nicole confirms that, “Zinta really pathed her own future. She’s so passionate and truly fully invested.” And Maritza du Preez, Zinta’s friend concurs; “Zinta is someone you can always rely on and trust, who will put others’ needs before her own. To have her as a friend is undeniably precious. I admire her so much!”
Zinta was born in Kroonstad in the Free State before her family moved to the Western Cape. “Our family life was wonderful. I used to try everything my brothers did, from playing cricket to riding off-road bikes every weekend,” she smiles. “My parents never discouraged me and are the two people I know will always be there for me. My father and mother are both an amazing example of working hard, and being kind-hearted no matter what situation you are in.”
Once Zinta matriculated in 2006 from Strand High School, the true test of her character began. Zinta recalls that her parents could not afford to send her to college or university, so she started working directly after school as a data clerk at a small audit firm. “From there, I have just worked myself up over the years. I could only afford to do short certificate courses in my own time, and I worked hard to get to where I am today. I started out as a capturing clerk, and I’m very proud of where I am today – after fifteen years.” Still, never one to put the ‘spoon’ down, Zinta is determined to continue focussing on her personal growth, well-being, and a balanced and Godly lifestyle. “I want to excel in my career and be able to support my parents and provide a good life for them.”
Zinta joined CEO in 2017. “I love working for CEO. Their vision for success is great. The ‘proof’ of the organisation’s success is in the consistently achieved targets, our integrity, creativity and commitment to stability and effective growth.” Zinta identifies with many of CEO’s members who are struggling to recover post-Covid. “The pandemic continues to overshadow the economic outlook in many industries, but many businesses are doing their best to adapt.” She empathises with those companies who fear not being able to produce products and services with the rising threats of fuel cost increases, loadshedding, and cyber-attacks.
In her spare time, Zinta loves fitness, hiking and weightlifting. “I want to improve and learn more about everything in the world of fitness.” She’s also a big animal lover and loves spending time with her ‘fur babies’, a Siberian Husky and a Malamute. “They are a lot of work!” she laughs proudly. “From grooming to exercise needed daily – they keep me busy, but I love every moment with them. Maybe one day I will have my own big family house with a big garden and grass with a pool – with all my rescue huskies and malamutes running around.”
Whatever Zinta’s plans are for the future, there’s no doubt it’s going to be a sweet, healthy, hard-earned and delightful alternative. And that’s her just desserts!