The Pursuit of Happiness ~ Ellerman House Remembers


Looking back on the past decade, we wanted to remember the moments that stood out, that changed us, moved us and amazed us. We asked the team at Ellerman House in Cape Town to share their favourite uplifting moments and stories from the hotel. Moments of hope, kindness, community, love and triumph. Take a look below at what they had to say.


Paul Harris, Owner of Ellerman House:

The Johnny Clegg evening comes to mind.

Ellerman House hosted a memorable and emotional evening on one of our music session evenings. Johnny Clegg, who was suffering from pancreatic cancer, was a much loved South African musician who defied Apartheid by playing in Black Townships. He became internationally renowned as the “White Zulu”.

He played to an intimate group of Ellerman House guests and friends in our Wine Gallery and after the show we showed him a music video that we had made that featured 50 of South Africa’s top musicians who at no cost collaborated to sing one of Johnny’s songs.



We will ever forget Johnny, arm in arm with his son Jessie, watching the video for the first time. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Johnny was so passionate about our country and wanted to give back, so he formed the Johnny Clegg Foundation using donations from supporters (and also all royalties from the song) to support the early childhood online literacy program that is run by The Click Foundation. If you want to feel good and don’t mind a lump in your throat watch The Crossing on YouTube.



Lindsy Terry, Sales & Marketing Manager:

Beauty Tshangela has, for me, one of the most amazing stories at Ellerman House. She started at Ellerman House in 2006 as a gardener. I remember when I started in 2010, the energetic, always-smiling lady, greeting our guests and always having a chat with a staff member in the garden.

In 2011, she indicated that she wanted to learn more about the hotel and was moved to the Housekeeping department. She quickly learnt all the tricks of the trade there and everyone loved having her in the department. In 2017, she became one of our Housekeeping Supervisors and has thrived in her new position.

I love that at Ellerman House, staff have the ability to grow from within the hotel.



Another very moving time for me was the “Friends of Johnny Clegg project” – at Ellerman House you get to be involved in so many other things than just your normal job. I was blown away by the generosity and kindness of people during this time.



Lovejoy Neshamba, Bartender:

From the time I’ve been at Ellerman House (since 2016), I’ve experienced many life-changing moments. I’m proud to be part of the Ellerman family.

I also had the privilege to meet and talk to one of our guests, an inspirational life coach and motivational speaker. He shared tips on how to be more productive in life and how to change your habits to be a better person and to be better at what you do. I have been following him on social media and my life has never been the same.



In 2019, I won the Distell Interhotel Challenge for wine service, which has been extremely motivating. Part of the prize was a bursary to write the SASA (South African Sommelier Association) Junior Sommelier Exam. I was fortunate to be placed first in my class.


Ailsa Burns – Revenue & Reservations Manager:

Being a witness to a guest’s wedding under the palm trees on the lawns at Ellerman House. He emailed us a few years later and told us his wife had passed on and he wanted to return to the same room that they enjoyed their honeymoon in. He came and told us the story of their lives. Ellerman House is more than just a home to guests that stay here, we are family to them as well.



Ashley Martin, HR Manager:

Obert Mkolo’s story over the years stands out for me. Obert has been employed with Ellerman House for 5 years. He started with us as a Housekeeper. During his time here, he has been an exemplary employee. Because of his commitment and desire to grow, he become a superstar in his department, being promoted to a Supervisor in 2017.

Over the next 2 years, Obert attended computer training as well as Supervisor Training, obtaining one of the highest marks in the class. In 2019, he was promoted to Housekeeping Manager.

He really inspires me to aim high and continue to do the best I can, because he is a living testament to hard work paying off.



Carol Kohne, Financial Manager:

I am always so inspired by Nazlie’s story – she started as a security guard at The Cellars-Hohenort and has worked her way up in F&B over the years at different hotels, to the point where she is now the Restaurant Manager at Ellerman House. As a female, from a disadvantaged background, having gone through many personal hardships, she forges on and doesn’t give up.



Vicky Dennet, Wellness Manager:

In my 14 years at Ellerman House, I have seen the most amazing empowerment of staff members that embrace the opportunities given by Ellerman House. Staff members that have grown from gardeners to drivers, housekeepers and supervisors. Spa therapists that have grown from shy young ladies into strong women, providing the best in wellness and mindfulness for our guests, with compassion and professionalism.



Showcasing Ellerman House and our amazing Art Collection, I have had the privilege to meet so many South African artists while working with Ellerman House, but the two that stand out for me are William Kentridge and Vusi Khumalo. One of my most memorable moments was meeting a famous pianist who played for our guests in a private performance on the Grand piano in our lounge.



Yvette Korff, Assistant Spa Manager:

In my 12 years at Ellerman House, I have met many wonderful people. I am also so proud of the community work Ellerman House supports, such as foundations like the Click Foundation, which helps to alleviate the education crisis in South Africa using technology to pursue outcomes-based interventions. I have been so happy to lend my support to the Art Angels event at the hotel every year too, the annual charity auction and party for the benefit of the Click Foundation.



Discover more inspiration from Ellerman House’s State of the Nation here >