Ellerman House is first and foremost a hotel, but we also are proudly South African and vested in our local communities. When our doors were closed to guests due to the pandemic, we were deeply saddened, as we knew that the lockdowns would have a serious impact on the most vulnerable around us. While these past few months have indeed been filled with pain, trauma and heartache for many, we also have witnessed heart-warming, beautiful and transformative moments.

The decision to turn our kitchens into a lifeline for hungry communities has given us a real and deep insight into the plight of the most needy in this country and we’ve learned how small acts of kindness can have a profound impact. Our chefs working in the kitchen with music and laughter drifting through the house is such a tonic. Visits to assist in the delivery and distribution of food have been joyful and uplifting. One of the organisations to which we supply cooked meals is Be the Difference, spearheaded by Cheslin Kolbe, the South African rugby superstar who scored the try that clinched the Rugby World Cup last year. One can sense the Springbok cohesiveness as Cheslin and chairman Granthem emphasise that feeding the needy is not just about distributing food, urging the team to leave personal problems behind and to hand out each food container with warmth and genuine interest. This, they stress, is as important as the food itself. It is a reminder of Mother Teresa’s attitude toward the people she served, namely, “Do small things with great love.”

The queue in the township starts before sunrise and stretches all the way down the road and around the corner. The kids are always at the front of the queue, followed by the elderly, and then everyone else. Contrary to the depressing atmosphere one might expect, there is always humour, laughter and good-natured fun. What is becoming increasingly apparent, though, is that the problem of hunger is not going to miraculously disappear post  lockdown. We realise that we can’t, with good conscience, stop the flow of meals. And whilst Ellerman House is continuing to provide the kitchen, chefs and volunteers for this life-saving project, our reliance on the goodwill and generosity of others must continue. It was precisely for this purpose that our fundraising “Music for Meals” sessions were launched.

 

These sessions provide an opportunity to listen to talented musicians and to learn new cooking skills from Chefs Peter Tempelhoff and Rudy Blaauw. Thus far we have featured the following musicians:

Ard Matthews of Just Jinger

Arno Carstens of The Springbok Nude Girls

Mike Rutherford of Genesis and Mike and The Mechanics

Ross Learmonth of Prime Circle

Kahn Morbee of The Parlotones

Craig Hinds of Watershed

If you missed our last show featuring the legendary Craig Hinds, please go to our Facebook page or follow the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyqVSB9nzEs

Join us this week Thursday at 8 pm (14h00 EST) for the next session featuring Richard Brokensha and Aston Wylie. Richard, an internationally acclaimed musician and producer, has performed in front of 100 000 people at 10 sold out arenas in Germany as well as performing to 35 000 people at the Gelredome in The Netherlands. Aston Wylie a “Voice” finalist is a well-known South African musician having had a number 1 on the 5FM Indie Chart and having toured internationally with Majozi.

The outpouring of love and support from all of you has been phenomenal during these online shows. Your monetary donations, together with the generosity of neighbours who have dropped off ingredients, have enabled us to keep up with the growing demand and we are deeply appreciative.

 

As far as the future is concerned, we are seeing progressively more positive news about the world beginning to open up, and this remains our focus. Our management team has been hard at work developing protocols designed to ensure that the hotel is as safe as possible, whilst not losing the magic that is Ellerman House. We believe that we are blessed to have a huge property relative to the number of rooms, and that COVID-19 has spurred us on to thinking more creatively so that we can offer even more exciting experiences for you. Rather than detracting from your stay we are positive that the changes will enhance it and enrich it. As to when the hotel will reopen, we have no definite answers yet, as so much depends on when international air traffic will resume properly, but we will keep you up to speed. We will continue to be fully transparent and your deposits are fully refundable up to 48 hours before your trip.

Personally, being in lockdown at Ellerman House has given me the opportunity to appreciate all the so-called little things that contribute to the overall experience of the hotel and which I may have previously taken for granted. Now that I am cleaning the pool, mowing the lawn and so on, I realise I probably didn’t give the maintenance team proper recognition for the hard work they do. The rest of our team’s true colours have also come through strongly. Their support during this time has been magnificent, and for this I am truly grateful. The support from our guests and travel partners makes us realise why we’ve chosen what is still the best profession in the world.