In the heart of Selcourt resides Anna-Mari Botes, an energetic 56-year-old with an unparalleled passion for the unassuming charm of salt and pepper shakers. Beyond mere culinary tools, these shakers embody a poignant connection to her late mother, intertwining memories and mementoes. Nestled amidst her prized possessions are remnants of her mother’s pre-loved teaspoon sets, treasured tokens of a bygone era.
However, her extraordinary assemblage of salt and pepper shakers truly captivates. A conservatively estimated 81 sets from diverse corners of the globe adorn her collection, each set echoing a unique narrative of origin. Some hail from iconic landmarks such as the Kruger National Park, Australia’s enchanting landscapes, the soulful corners of Portugal, and the charming nooks of England.
Unlike the many hidden in the anonymity of boxes, Anna-Mari’s collection emerges as a vivid exhibition within her dining room unit. It is arresting, inviting immediate attention as one steps into her abode. Amidst this assortment, one set stands as the embodiment of legacy—a keepsake from her mother, now an esteemed family heirloom, bridging generations with its delicate charm.
The evolution of Anna-Mari’s collection is entwined with the twists of fate. As she transitioned from Springs to Richards Bay, her open-plan kitchen hosted her earliest set atop the microwave. A serendipitous encounter with a neighbouring friend marked the inception of her odyssey. The friend’s curiosity about the Shakers’ origin set a course of unexpected events. A month later, a birthday surprise arrived—a country living house-shaped ceramic salt and pepper shaker set, a symbolic gesture to keep her mother’s set from solitude.
And so, a coincidental catalyst launched Anna-Mari into a realm of collecting. Birthdays were transformed into gifting occasions, with friends and family contributing to her assemblage. What began as an unintended venture now thrives as a cherished trove, with each acquisition bearing a sentimentality that words cannot fully encapsulate.
Among Anna-Mari’s cherished treasures lie shakers that echo her mother’s travels to Victoria Falls. Crafted from deer horns and marimba, Zimbabwe’s wild fruit, these shakers embody a connection to distant lands and unforgettable experiences.
The tale continues with the recent addition of a blue and white windmill set, a thoughtful gift from a Netherlands-bound friend who traversed the South African landscape. However, the ceramic XO hugs and kisses set stands above the rest in her heart—a precious offering from her beloved sons, etching their affection into her collection.
In Anna-Mari’s eyes, her cherished salt and pepper sets are more than mere collectables. They are repositories of affection, each a testament to friendships, family ties, and cross-continental connections. Practical yet intimate, these minor artefacts hold a potent allure. Neatly housed within her cupboard, they assert their presence with grace and elegance, a testament to Anna-Mari’s discerning taste and endearing sentiment.
In this corner of Selcourt, within the rhythm of everyday life, a unique story unfolds—one of unbounded passion, unexpected journeys, and a mother’s enduring legacy—all encapsulated within the delicate vessels of salt and pepper shakers.
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Photo: Supplied by Springs Advertiser