When you give a camera to a 6-year old...

Here is the last post about the 40 years of Transkaroo party. As I mentioned before, I gave my old camera (a Canon Power Shot G12) to Daniel on the evening of the party so that he could also take pictures. The angle from his 1.2m height provides a very different perspective, although often less than flattering with everyone’s double chins on display! But I just loved his enthusiasm! I love what he deemed important enough to photograph and how the people smiled back at him. I love how the poor cat and dog were stalked. And the photos of the traffic in the street made me smile. Apparently he was a traffic officer manning the speed camera!

So, sometimes slightly blurry, slightly out of focus, but not bad for a first try. Here is Daniel’s version of the evening (no photo editing).

Image credits: The first one by Callie Fourie, the others by Daniel Kornelius :-)

40 years of Transkaroo: The celebration

How do you celebrate 40 years of doing something? How do you capture all the thousands of memories and moments? All the long summer days and cold winter nights, strung together to make the time pass? How do you capture in celebration having survived all the ups and downs, the difficulties and the worries, but also all the triumphs?

The answer is: you don’t, because you can’t. You cannot do forty years of succeeding at something, by grace and against the odds, justice in an event.

What you can do, is evoke a feeling.

You can use the hotel and its staff to showcase their best. You can take the hospitality normally reserved for guests, and lavish that on family and friends, the faces that inhabit your memories of forty years. You can dress everyone up in white, thereby visually setting the special people you wish to share the occasion with apart, if only for an evening.

Sitting at the table, your table, you can share jokes, stories and memories – but not all of them. You can remember, but not completely. You can say thank you, but never enough. You can take stock, but you will never finish counting the blessings.

And so, having taken the best of forty years and crammed it all into an evening, the time seems to have slowed down and sped by at the same time. And the feeling you’re left with is hard to describe. It’s love, but more. It’s gratitude, but bigger. It’s nostalgia, but something deeper than that. It’s the feeling that it’s all been worth it, and that we’re blessed.

Image credits: The photos above were taken by Elanie Fourie, Callie Fourie, Neel Potgieter, Louis Botha and me. Three cameras floated from hand to hand... 

40 years of Transkaroo: My family

My immediate family likes to take pictures. Anybody who was at the party would tell you that might be the understatement of 2013…! We love it. As in: taking the photos rather than having our photos taken. But, dress us all up as we did for this party and you can be sure we are ready to pose. Before the guests for the party arrived, we gathered in the courtyard, all dressed in white - even baby Auguste in his skinny white jeans :-). Under the canopy of white jasmine in full bloom and the lanterns shining bright, we took a few family photos. I just had to share them because, in all honesty, how often do you get your entire family to all dress up and get dolled up for a bash at the same time these days? The results, if I may say so, flattered us :-)




40 years of Transkaroo: The preparations

When I was 9 months old, my parents and I lived in Pretoria. My dad was working at a 5-star hotel, but our lives were about to change. We were moving to a small Karoo town where my parents were now the owners of what was then called The Central Hotel. They changed the name and today it is called the Transkaroo Country Lodge.

This month marks 40 years for my parents as hoteliers at the Transkaroo. The plan was originally to stay for 5 years, but now, many moons later, they are still there. To celebrate this occasions my parents decided to have a party for as many as possible of their family and friends that supported them through the years, built into their lives and were there with them through all the ups and downs over four decades.

The hotel was a beehive of activity for the couple of days before the big night. Ingrid, always smiling, has been at the hotel for 23 years. The day before the party she picked flowers from the garden to put in all our rooms. Kaatjie, the chef, with 21 years of service under her belt, with her kitchen team, crusted the lamb with herbs. They marinated the pork bellies and stuffed the fillet with pecan nuts. They made seafood salads and biltong cheesecakes. They made tiramisu, Pavlovas and panacottas.

Outside my husband was hanging the lanterns, my brother was setting up the sound system and my sister was laying the tables. My sister-in-law hanged the bunting and my aunt helped with the flowers. Friends rolled up their sleeves to help with the canap├ęs and the spectacular looking salads. So finally, for me, this will be the lasting memory of the days before: how the staff, working long hours, always had smiles on their faces and pride in putting what is now a well-oiled forty year old professional machine to use in service of a party for their own, not hotel guests. And I will always appreciate the way in which the friends and family, who were after all guests to the party, made a hundred little large and small contributions towards making it work – letting the love that’s lasted for forty years come out from their hearts into their fingertips while helping.

To read more about the hotel, see my previous blog entry here, visit their website or like their Facebook page.