At &Beyond we are truly honoured to have countless dedicated, long-serving employees that have been with us since our inception 25 years ago. Perhaps even more impressive than their unwavering loyalty and hard work for a quarter of a century are their own personal stories of growth, success and determination.
There are senior executive chefs that started out in the scullery, a general manager that was originally employed as a porter, a regional manager whose humble beginnings started in a traditional Maasai boma, and one fully-qualified PADI Divemaster that set his sights high when he joined &Beyond Mnemba Island more than 20 years ago.
A quiet force to be reckoned with
Quiet and unassuming, Uledi Jaku has a genuine passion for marine conservation that has inspired and driven him to succeed. Having lived on Mnemba Island for more than two decades, he has steadily worked his way up through the ranks from gardener to staff chef to the dishwasher, eventually settling on a decade-long career as a boat captain.
Uledi’s love of the ocean remained constant and he took the initiative to further develop his career and become a Divemaster. For four years, he quietly dedicated all of his spare time to exploring the Mnemba house reef and learning everything he could about its colourful inhabitants.
Not only did he join the island’s team of PADI professionals (with an outstanding 117 out of 120 on his final exam) and officially became Mnemba’s first ever local Divemaster, but Uledi also overcame another important and challenging obstacle: he mastered his English, which is no mean feat.
As hardworking as he is humble when Uledi isn’t out scuba diving and snorkelling with guests, he is constantly on watch as the island’s dedicated turtle monitor. He keeps a close eye on the endangered green sea turtles’ nests and remains on-call 24 hours a day to oversee all turtle layings and hatchings to ensure the safety and ongoing monitoring of the female turtles and their tiny hatchlings.
Uledi was born and raised in Matemwe on Zanzibar Island, where his wife and three daughters still reside. When he’s not uncovering the wonders of the Indian Ocean to guests, Uledi can be found playing soccer, swimming and doing yoga (although he’s a beginner, he’s already doing headstands with ease).
Uledi we are so proud of your achievements and we look forward to seeing what the next decade has in store for you. Asante Sana (thank you) for your 20+ years of tireless dedication, gentle nature and authentic love of the underwater world. It is a privilege to know you.