Penelope is 39 years old and lives in Kreupelbosch, Cape Town with her husband Andrew, their two daughters, Andrew’s father, their cat Peanut and hamster Fluffy.
What is your profession and what work do you do? I am a Waldorf kindergarten teacher and very part-time proof-reader and wannabe writer.
Where were you trained? I received my BA in literature from UCT and my Education Certificate from the Centre for Creative Education.
Is there something you would like to learn? I would love to also do the Waldorf primary school teacher training, how to play the guitar, to speak fluent French and isiXhosa, to crochet, to play the recorder, to follow complex knitting patterns, to read German, the list goes on and on.
What do you do in your free time? I love to go for solitary walks on the beach and in the mountains, lucky I live in the right place. I read, read, read. I make felt and practice the recorder.
Do you have a hero, a mentor or somebody you admire? Nelson Mandela, for his message of peace and his ability to forgive. Margaret Atwood for her sheer genius and my mother for teaching me not to panic in a crisis.
Are you currently saving money for something? Yes, a tent and of course my own kindergarten.
Do you have a dream that cannot be bought by money? To give all the children in South Africa the freedom of education and exposure to a world beyond poverty.
What do you think you will be doing in 10 years? Teaching.
Where will you be when you are old? Living on my smallholding, in my cob house, reading a book.
What is your favourite food? My husband’s creamed spinach.
Do you have a favorite book? Yes. But it changes with my mood and current obsession. Probably Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes.
Do you have a favorite movie? August Rush.
What music is your favorite? Folk.
And what TV-show? Hmmmm… CSI?
What do you like about South Africa? I love the sunshine, the warm and friendly people who are capable of overcoming the insurmountable. I like swimming pools and braais on a Sunday afternoon. I love that we can still live in a relatively materially simple environment.
What don’t you like about South Africa? I don’t like the way that our colonial heritage still haunts our present. The way that politicians are allowed to get away with blatant corruption. That racism and bigotry are still such a part of all cultural groups. And I have serious issues with the state of our educational system.
What are your hopes for South Africa? That we, as a potentially great nation, will be able to come together for the sake of our children and our children’s children and create a country that they will be proud of one day.
Is there anything you would like to say to our Swiss friends and families? Thank you so much for sharing the Schlup Five with us! We have so enjoyed having them in our lives. And I highly recommend you all come and walk the Otter Trail someday!