A lot has changed since Tinyiko Mncube first set foot, 10 years ago, at the then modestly set up business premises of Metal Cross Vehicle Makeover Clinic. Affectionately known by his middle name, Conscious, he still beams with excitement at any mention of celebrations or congratulations.

Tinyiko, a gift in XiTsonga, has developed an extraordinary bond with Metal Cross, the scratch and dent removal specialist company. This bond can be traced back to his early days when he was barely out of his teens.

Tinyiko’s father, Falcon, met Frank Menezes when Tinyiko was only 19 years old. He had waited for him in order to ask for a job for his son, a move he had to make though he dreaded.

Tinyiko recalls his first task to mow the lawn with a little embarrassment that, being of no experience, set the mower to the lowest level and simply ploughed the lawn off.

“I was terrified that I was going to lose my chance of getting the job my father had negotiated,” says Tinyiko.

“I can say I grew up in the company and the company grew up with me,”

Now 29 years old, Tinyiko is grateful to Frank. “I was a blank sheet when Frank took me in and taught me everything I know,” he says. He was really understanding in the beginning, knowing that I needed close guidance. So he let me do soft tasks such as polishing finished cars.”

From polishing cars he had to master the art and science of mixing paint in which he excelled. “Spray painting found me ready because it was one thing I couldn’t wait to lay my hands on.”

Tinyiko unashamedly admits that the team in the workshop didn’t come from a refined environment. So from time to time rivalry on the shop floor led to skirmishes that threatened the orderly work ethic.

Frank intervened in a firm but structured manner which sought to reinforce teamwork and refine character. Looking at Tinyiko and the team, it has been a time well spent.