Emelio Lawrenceimage02

‘There is always sunshine somewhere…’

Being the sole survivor of his immediate family of 6, these words have immense depth coming from this wise, young man. He found sunshine again – here at Maison Noir that he now sees as his new family. He was born in Blantyre, Malawi and came to Cape Town in 2009 with his wife Angela and their then infant daughter, Lalette. The family welcomed the addition of a new baby girl in January 2016.

Emelio is an all-round star with his hands and woodwork is his passion.

One of his proudest projects at Maison Noir was the creation of the outdoor, poolside furniture as well as some show-stopping tables that grace the property’s exterior and interior spaces. Rather than just using the wood as fire food, reclaimed from the man-made blue gum forest that was cleared to make way for the construction of the villa, it’s made into beautiful, functioning pieces of furniture that the guests now enjoy.

He is currently working on smaller pieces that are for sale at the villa apart from overseeing the gardens as grounds manager. His green fingers and those of his team mates are living proof of real talent and nothing, nothing is impossible to solve.

His words: ‘I fight with ideas and not with arguments…’

Julize Maasdorp

‘I love to clean and that is my way to make things beautiful’ beams Julize.

Being in charge of the housekeeping at Maison Noir, this is such a well suited quality. From childhood and watching local TV programs like ‘Pasella’, she wanted to create a comfortable and pretty home for her loved ones. Growing up in Keimoes, Northern Cape with her grandparents who were miners, she learned her life skills and respect for other people from her ‘ouma’.

Sadly this very important person in her life passed away three years ago. ‘My grandmother was my whole life…’ says Julize with sad eyes. ‘All I want is to be is a strong mother like my grandmother. I miss her every day…’

She, her Malawian husband and two children lives in Hout Bay since 2001. Apart from studying again, she recently achieved her first big goal in life – buying a car and now focus on buying a house.

As a family orientated person, this will be her ultimate goal apart from pampering the guests at Maison Noir.

Zuzeka Booi

‘I would have loved to be a singer’ says Zuzeka with big, shy eyes.

Helping her best friend and ‘sister’ Julize in the daily cleaning and pampering routines at Maison Noir, this talented lady had to start working at a very young age to assist her mother in providing for the family. She grew up in Nqamakwe, Eastern Cape and migrated to the Western Cape in 2007.

Zuzeka have a boy and two girls and they all live happily in Hout Bay.

She branded herself as shy but we know a bubbling, free spirit under that layer – especially when Miriam Makeba’s ‘Pata-Pata’ or ‘Click song’ starts and she, with perfect pitch, hits all the notes and ‘clicks’ native to her Xhosa tongue…

Something to behold…

George Matope

‘My passion in life is relationships and friendship…’ says George with his wide, friendly smile.

From his original dream to be an architect, to becoming a poet, composer and an agricultural teacher in Malawi, the third of six children to two english teachers, George’s happy place is beside Emelio in the extensive gardens at Maison Noir. 

He loves to be in the hospitality industry and working with people. His drive to improve himself is one of his most noble assets and his clipped English combined with his love for nature, stemming from his agricultural background, makes him the perfect companion for a quick, guided walk up the mountain to visit the waterfall behind the villa. 

Oh and whilst you up there, let him sing you one of the 60 songs he has written!

Happy Mandah

I really, really like music… ‘

That is apart from carpentry and gardening he adds – but music still makes him happiest. Originally from Mzuzu, Malawi where his family still lives, this young man is alive with good humour. Being the youngest and only boy between three siblings, he sang often with his sisters.

Now you can often hear him, Emelio and George harmonizing beautiful traditional songs when working alongside in the garden.

Happy really does his name justice!