ATA Conference
(Africa Travel Association)

Cape Sun Hotel - Cape Town

20 May 2001


After extensive pre conference emails between Jerry Bird, Muguette (Mugie) Goulfani and myself we all met up at Cape Towns airport on Friday 18 May 2001. We worked out a schedule of how we were going to see Cape Town and its surrounds in such a way that it would not interfere with the ATA conference and whereby we would give as many people as possible an opportunity to see Cape Town with Robert (Brother and tourguide partner) and me in the guiding seats. The following pictures show what transpired in the days to follow:


On our first day we went on a winelands tour. At the Cape Sun we met up with Roberto E Angelo (Philadelphia)  who joined us. What a wonderful raconteur he turned out to be. Here Robert, Mugie, Jerry and Roberto can be seen in front of the majestic scenery of the R&R wine farm.


We visited Plaisir de Merle winefarm where we enjoyed a winetasting. Mugie, Roberto and Robert show their happiness at the venue.


Mugie signing the visitors register at Plaisir de Merle


 We stopped for a wonderful lunch at La Grange restaurant in Franschhoek. Here Roberto, Koekie (La Grange staff member), Mugie and Jerry find themselves with Karien the fantastic chef of the restaurant.


Koekie, Mugie, Jerry and Pinkie, the maitre-d of restaurant, pose for a picture in the kitchen.


Roberto having fun with Cornel (manageress) and Karien in front of the restaurant with the magnificent scenery of Franschhoek in the background.


While in Stellenbosch we stopped in at La Bri Manor. Here we see Mugie and Roberto posing in  front of a Victorian bathtub in one of the rooms.


On the second day (21 May) of the conference I met up with Ellen Posell and Eunice Rawlings. We found a gap of 3 hours to do some touring of the city.

Ellen and Eunice enjoying the crisp air and scenery in front of the 12 Apostles mountain range looming over Camps Bay.


On returning to the conference centre after touring with Ellen and Eunice I met up with Jerry as can be seen from the next photo.


Jerry and Selwyn in the ATA Magazine booth at the ATA Trade Show


On the third day of us meeting all at the conference we took Jerry and Mugie to see the Cape Grace Hotel

Jerry relaxing in a luxury suite at the Cape Grace Hotel


In the evening I joined Ellen and Eunice with our Cape Town friends that we found we had in common viz. Hilton and Pearl Gischen as well as Gerald and Bella Mallinick at the Africa Cafe for dinner. What a great evening this turned out to be.

Selwyn, Pearl, Bella, Ellen, Hilton, Eunice and Gerald having fun around our table.


The following day Eunice, Ellen, Marie Rein and Roger joined us on a winelands tour.


Our first stop was at the Rupert and Rothschild (R&R) wine farm. Here we see Robert, Ellen, Linda Goliath from R&R, Marie-Rein and Roger discussing the merits of the wonderful wines on the farm.


We then traveled on to Plaisir de Merle. here we see the foursome enjoying the wines of the estate.


Roger looking rather wearily at the wine tasting quantities in front of him while Ellen enjoys the occasion.


Ellen making her presence felt amongst all the wine barrels in the Plaisir de merle maturation cellar


On our last day together we were joined by Marlene Davis (Roger could not make the tour). We visited Kalk Bay and the wonderful Bessie O' Shea who entertained us to tea, melktert (milk tart) and scones in her lounge while she and Judy Herbert related stories of their rich and colourful lives in Kalk Bay to us.

Marlene, Marie-Rein, Robert, Ellen, Judy, Bessie and Eunice enjoying the tea and wonderful cakes that Bessie provided.


We travelled on to Simonstown and then back to Cape Town. This happy photo was taken in the Simonstown hills and shows Marlene. Eunice, Robert, Marie-Rein and Ellen posing for the camera.


It was truly fantastic travelling with all at the ATA conference. We did the tours as an educational event to all who travelled with us and it truly turned out to be a great success.


Received on 28 May 2001

Dear Rob and Selwyn,

I finally got back home last night after a week in beautiful Cape Town. It's sad that we were stuck in meetings most of the time and did not have the chance to enjoy more of the beautiful landscapes of your most extraordinary region.. It's just a valid reason ( need it be ) to come back, but for leisure this time.

I'd like to thank you once again to have taken the day both of you to give us a tour of the wine region and to have been two most instructive guides. I am already planning to bring my family back to Cape Town and will certainly be using your services. I will also certainly recommend SA. visitors to you both as guides if they want to fully and peacefully enjoy the beauty of your region.

Very best regards,
Roger Kacou

Regional Vice president operations
Hotels and Resorts
East Africa




A very brave Eunice Rawlings passed away on 28 June 2001

The morning that I met Eunice in Cape Town she was limping very badly. This limp came about straight after her flight from Los Angeles to Cape Town. After calling for a local doctor he referred her to a neurologist for further examination. I drove her, and her very good friend Ellen Posell, to a local specialist, who after a MRI scan, concluded that she had 2 tumors on the brain that were activated by brain swelling caused during the flight. The diagnosis was not deemed to be fatal as the tumors could be treated, but rest assured we all knew that the hard slog in getting the treatment done would be no joke and Eunice knew this too even though she never ever said so. Bear in mind Eunice was at a huge ATA conference and because she was well known by other delegates, in that she has been attending these conferences regularly, everyone asked her what was wrong. She very nonchalantly used to answer them by saying "I went to see a specialist and I have 2 tumors on the brain". The delegates at the conference who received this type of answer were absolutely shocked and Eunice quite casually said "please do not worry about me as it does not help me to see you distressed about my condition as I have a fight on my hands and I am going to need every bit of positive energy and certainly do not need negatives". I as well as Ellen, her solid as a rock, down to earth friend in the tour group adopted this positive attitude that Eunice asked of us and acted as her shield from others at the conference as best we could. We treated Eunice like a normal healthy person and that is exactly what she wanted. Eunice was so positive about her life while in Cape Town that she stood for and got elected to the ATA board to represent her chapter for the forthcoming year. Before leaving Cape Town she was telling us all how she was going to bring meaningful change to the ATA in terms of their direction and what they would do to benefit Africa.

Saying goodbye to her at the airport was a terrible affair for me and I sensed it was for her too but we kept up a brave positive face as we parted. Somehow or other I just felt comfortable seeing Ellen leaving with her as they went through passenger control in that I just knew that she was in good, caring hands from thereon. 

When she got back to the USA she found out that she actually had 5 tumors as well as lung cancer and liver cancer. I reckoned her chances were slim but you believe me Eunice was such a brave, positive lady and never ever even considered this to be the case as she spoke to me via emails that she sent to me. She was so positive and brave and even wrote about representing us in the USA as tour operators in a couple of months time. She was an absolute inspiration with her positive manner.

Alas now Eunice has passed away and  I have now lost what was a friend whom I only knew for a week. What could have been a wonderful friendship has now been curtailed by her passing.

Eunice Rawlings was a GENUINE TRUE AFRICAN at heart even though she was not born on this continent. She lived and loved Africa. She loved people of all colors and creeds. Prejudice simply never had a place in her life. She was in simple words a down to earth, straight talking honest human being who portrayed her love of life and what she enjoyed from it in a very outgoing, friendly manner.

I will miss the opportunity of ever seeing her again but then I am also thankful for having the short  time granted to me to have enjoyed her company while she was enjoying the wonders of Cape Town