In June we celebrated the 100th birthday of Tafta resident, Emmerentia Lecourt de Billot, with a small party at Tafta Lodge.
Like many of our residents, Emmie has wonderful stories to tell if you simply take the time to listen. Born on 18 June 1918 at Smithfield in the Free State, she has led a life of extraordinary adventure and romance.
After completing her schooling, Emmie headed for the bright lights of Johannesburg where she met her future husband, Doug Ellis, a young engineer studying for his pilot’s licence.
“He did all sorts of plane acrobatics,” she says, “And I used to fly with him on the weekends. As a 19 year old girl, I loved it!”
Tragically, Doug died in a plane crash in 1951. Five years later, Emmie took up a job as secretary to the South African Consul General in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) in the Congo. Life was a giddy round of cocktail parties and dinners at various consulates and private homes. She also acquired a pet leopard cub, which she eventually had to give away to the local zoo.
On her return to South Africa, Emmie met and married her second husband, Andre Lecourt de Billot, but sadly he died in a car accident.
She moved into Tafta Lodge in 1999 and enjoys the magnificent view of the harbour from her room. “It is beautiful at night with all the twinkling lights,” she says.
Despite having notched up a century of living, Emmie is still full of life with a great sense of humour, mobile and able to read without glasses – the perfect inspiration for active ageing!