Not only does August symbolize Winter drawing to an end, it’s also a month of great importance to South African women. On 9 August we celebrate National Women’s Day, which commemorates a significant day in our country’s history. In 1956 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s controversial pass laws, and in 1994 the first National Women’s Day was celebrated to remember this day and pay tribute to the courageous women who fought for freedom. Here in the valley we are proud of the remarkable women who call Franschhoek home. They represent the various sectors in the valley – from wine, accommodation, retail and restaurant – and we greatly appreciate their efforts.
Franschhoek is steeped in rich history and this also includes the lineup of formidable women, who throughout the years, have played an integral part in putting and keeping the region on the global map. With so many awe-inspiring women to mention we want to highlight a few who have made it their life ambition to get Franschhoek and its offerings noticed.
When you say the name Franschhoek, Susan Huxter instantly comes to mind. Susan was the dynamic powerhouse behind the internationally acclaimed Le Quartier Français boutique hotel as well as major contributor in getting Franschhoek noticed for almost 26 years.
Another name which comes to mind and has reaffirmed Franschhoek as one of the country’s leading wine regions, is Irene de Fleuriot (Waller) of La Bri Wines. Throughout the years Irene has established the winery as one of SA’s most celebrated wine brands, both locally and internationally.
Franschhoek is also home to a range of exquisite boutique shops, which have fast established a growing following. Marti Foster, owner of Masquerade is where you are guaranteed to find the most amazing décor items for your home. Driven by her distinctive avoidance of the clichéd, coupled with her sense of style and abundance of creativity, Marti creates a unique shopping experience for all who pop in to browse what’s on offer.
When it comes to pastries and sweet treats Lisa Adams Waite of the Village Tart is your ‘go to baker’. Not only does the Village Tart serve delicious pastries and savoury treats, but this quaint restaurant in the heart of the village has also become known for its delicious breakfasts, lunches and teas.
These are just a handful of the dynamic women who call Franschhoek home, and the list isn’t even close to being complete. With that said there are a few women in the valley who certainly deserve a mention and who have, throughout the years, have become known as key community role players. They are:
Lodine Maske of La Cotte Inn Wine Sales – Franschhoek’s ‘hotline lady’ who is always there to assist in a crisis or simply just a hug. Annette Phillips and all that she does for the SPCA, especially in the greater Franschhoek area. Hospice would be lost without the assistance of Colleen Douglas, and not forgetting Wilna van der Westhuizen who works tirelessly to see to the elderly at the old age home. And then there’s the bubbly Aunty Ruth, proprietor of Teesakkie and known through the valley for making the most delicious freshly baked carrot cake and other lip-smacking treats. And last but by no means least Michaela Julian and Tarryn Corlett who are passionate about helping students get further in life at the Franschhoek Hospitality Academy.
We salute these women as well as the numerous others who do so much to keep the Franschhoek flag flying high.