Letters to the Editor Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, February 2021, Letters to the Editor


Letters to the Editor

Dr. Maniku

«I wish I had known Dr Maniku and his empire. I wish I had been a guest at his resort and ordered a specific Danish open-faced sandwich and then had to help him out. I also wish I had been there and ordered a surf and turf and leaned back to watch the magic. Thank you Dr M for what you did in this world. May your God be with you.» BK

Ed: Thank you for the kind words about Dr. Maniku. Magic is the right word for what he accomplished—and I can say that I am sure they would have risen to the challenge with your open-faced sandwich (curious what it is)—they did when I put a similar challenge to them, and it was served without delays, cooked to perfection 


«It is interesting to observe that SABA has geared up into a frenzy mode, posting every hour in their social media, boasting about their excellence. In one of these postings, Newton Cross demands respect, missing the point that respect is earned, not demanded. SABA’s Google Review has a distasteful display of self-glorification, with SABA rating itself 5 stars under two different names (SABA and Butler Academy hub), the two employees of SABA rating themselves 5 stars and Newton Cross’ husband, Adriaan Coetzer, also rating it 5 stars, while ridiculing and belittling their own students who rated them 1-star. As some ex-students have pointed out on social media, SABA is the exact antithesis of what they claim to be: respectful, humble, and discreet. Students from Zimbabwe have been the hardest hit by the abuse—most of them lost all they had saved and borrowed, some were expelled without refund, and others are still waiting for the so-called jobs years after graduation.» Ex-student 

«This is so true, I was mislead by this school. I served 7 years as a chef in the South Africa Navy. I specialized as a pastry chef at Silwood culinary school (an amazing place). I was ready to take my career to a new level and felt that butlering would be the right step. After seeing an advertisement on Gumtree providing Jobs for butlers as chefs, I contacted the school and sent my resume. I was informed I needed to do the course first then I would be eligible for multiple opportunities within the hospitality industry because of my experience. Armed with this so-called knowledge, I felt sufficiently comfortable to leave the navy thinking they would ‘help find me find a job’ and I used my pension to pay for the course. One week into the course, I realized that «sub-standard» does not even begin to describe how poor of an education this school provides. If learning how to fold toilet paper and towels and set up a high tea really is a butler’s job, then I might as well have gone to YouTube and found the information for free. Newton Cross and Braam West pit students against each other, ask students to type their ‘wonderful’ experience at the school on social media, tell students to change their cell phone voice tone, Facebook page, Instagram, LinkedIn account; some students are emotionally blackmailed and threatened with [no] employment if they don’t comply with their standards. With such a high unemployment rate in South Africa, good honest students who want to make an honest living for their families, who would make wonderful butlers, give up so much to do this course only realizing afterwards how this institution is a scam. This piece of paper [certificate] that’s worth nothing is all they have to fall back on. SABA preys on the weak, desperate, and misinformed, through clever marketing and advertising and can fool the best people at times, having us thinking this place can help better our lives, careers, and help find us well-paying jobs.» MQ

Ed: Thanks for sharing your heartbreaking story and observations about the betrayal being committed against so many earnest and hardworking individuals who have no doubt overcome considerable obstacles to attend SABA only to have their hopes dashed. Hopefully, with enough people rising to tell their story, joining the class action suit and speaking to others to alert them directly or through the media, we can put an end to this blatant scam.

«Thank you for having the courage I didn’t have in 2016 when I did the course. I have way too many bad experiences to share in just one email. Newton Cross and his partners are absolutely defrauding people. I am in the States now and that certificate is not recognized outside that awful upstairs room we trained in. Lucky for those who got a house to train in. I applaud you for the courage to take them on.» TM

«Having saved and paying R35,000 is just a nightmare for me; the course was below average and I thought after the course they would help us out, but no word from them. I regret having gone there, they are a scam, they should give us back our money, and I hope justice will prevail. T.» MM

Ed: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on SABA. I am sorry you had to go through this. You can do something to right the wrong and bring about some balance again to this subject for yourself while also helping prevent unsuspecting students from experiencing the same disappointment: Share your story with Ms. Yang Lin at Since the court cases became common knowledge, many more people are coming forward with horror stories such as yours, providing affidavits as a minimum and even joining the class action suit in the hopes of receiving justice and even a return of their funds. It is the only way to bring about some measure of closure. Ms. Lin can help guide you on the affidavit and class action suit.

«I’m glad to see that SABA is receiving the exposure it deserves: Exploiting people this way should not be allowed. Well done Miss Lin Yang for speaking for those who need it.» S

«SABA is a money making scheme—I did not finish the course per the schedule, was shouted at, disrespected and lied to. I was forced to work long hours for their functions and to advertise them on all social media platforms for their benefit. We are not stupid, being given cheap “made in China” gloves and bow ties that we had to pay a fortune for. The way students are treated is a disgrace. The property is not a mansion but is presented in a house that has no business-property rights. The arrogance of Newton Cross is astounding—he lies on Carte Blanche and makes out everything is fine. IT IS NOT. Do not waste your time, money, effort to do this course. The certificate is not worth the paper it is printed on. Talk to students directly who did the course and you will find out what lies and empty promises they are making!» C

«The treatment and lies and manner in which students were dealt with was shocking. For any student or person interested in doing this course, think twice and read all the comments. The promises of securing jobs and placement overseas are BS. Spend your money on a different program.» CW

Julius Smith article on formal versus informal

«I would advocate a formal role – it sets boundaries, clear role-expectation and little opportunity for exploitation. In the latter, I suggest the role does not expand to include chauffeur, housekeeping/laundry or dare I say it, gardening duties. Supervising and caring for children of any age requires focused attention, planning for activities, and behavioral coaching, something SIRI is not equipped to do although it is very useful for activating in-house technology.» AA

«I couldn’t agree more: Setting boundaries should be a module of its own for novice Butlers! On my very first assignment, for lack of sound advice, I learned this the hard way. Consequently, when the couple divorced, I was faced with an impossible choice – both parties wanted me to stay on with them. The only option was to disappoint both of them.» FM

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