Josiah Elias Montsho has come full circle with his appointment last year as General Manager at Sun City’s flagship Palace of the Lost City hotel in South Africa, going from Hotel Porter to Palace GM.
At the tender age of 19, nothing about Josiah’s first job as a Sun City porter could have prepared him for the direction his life would take. “I thought the job was going to help me to save money to study further, but it was the start of a journey to greatness,” he said.
Having no particular dream of working in the hospitality industry, Montsho developed a passion for hospitality once he understood the vast career choices and opportunities that it offers.
Born in the Sowetan township of Diepkloof in 1967, by the time he was 12, his family had relocated to Bafokeng’s Phokeng Village in Rustenburg. Ambitious but without resources to study further, he set about getting a job after matriculating from Bafokeng High School in 1986.
His drive and hard work were soon noticed and rewarded. Six years after joining Sun City, Josiah was selected for a scholarship to study for a 3-year diploma in Hotel Management. Two years after graduating, Sun International offered him the opportunity to attend the Executive Management Certificate program at the Graduate School of Business in Cape Town.
During his time at Sun International, Monsho steadily climbed the corporate ladder from Front Office Manager at The Wild Coast Sun to Operations Manager at Carnival City Casino, Rooms Division Manager at the Palace of The Lost City, and finally General Manager of the Cabanas Hotel.
He left Sun International for a while to further his experience at international brands such as Starwood, working as Director of Rooms at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria, and the General Manager of the Intercontinental Sandton Towers. He also gained valuable experience at privately-owned hotels such as the Pepper Club Hotel in Cape Town where he was General Manager, and The Cross Point Trading where he served as Tourism CEO for Bafokeng.
In his new role as General Manager of Palace of The Lost City, Josiah is responsible for the smooth running of operations and of ensuring the wellbeing of staff. He said: “My management approach is of servant leadership. Most of my time at work is spent coaching and encouraging my team to be multi-skilled and to further their studies. As the late President Mandela said, ‘education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.’”
Inspired by another of Mandela’s quotes, “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” Josiah said: “Working in the hospitality industry I discovered my purpose. I was fortunate to be groomed by amazing managers who were keen to invest their time and knowledge in me. They encouraged me to work hard and aim high. I have learned that with the right attitude and positive thinking nothing is impossible. I always encourage my team that with the right attitude, passion, hard work, and determination one can achieve your goals and dreams.
“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the late legendary Mr. Sol Kerzer, for his amazing contribution to South Africa’s hospitality sector and his incredible vision for building one of the best resorts in the world, the Sun City Resort. For many hoteliers, Sun City is an institution. I am extremely humbled to be back here and to give back by reinvesting all I have learnt in others. I hope to be an inspiration to my fellow colleagues.”
Speaking about his appointment, Graham Wood, Sun International’s COO: Hospitality and Resorts, said: “Josiah is an extraordinary asset to the group, and his appointment is testament to his dedication, commitment, and professionalism. He has worked extremely hard to achieve what he has, and he reflects our longstanding belief that it is good practice to grow people from within.”