Need help?

+27 21 250 0015

The Mother of all celebrations

Mother’s Day in South Africa falls on the 14th of May this year. Chris Harvie takes a wry look at the importance of mothers and of getting Mother’s Day right…


Of course, Mother’s Day is very important. I mean, where would we be without our mothers? Nowhere. Obviously. Scientifically. Literally. After all, everybody has a mother – and in these enlightened days, some people even have two.

So, for all the mothers out there, it is very important that we mark the day properly and that we take the time to do something that mothers love. Like fishing. Or 4x4-ing. Or braai-ing and drinking brandy and Coke by the pool. Oh, no, sorry. That’s Father’s Day. Father’s Day is FUN.

On Mother’s Day we tend, perversely, to torture our mothers by pretending to be them for a whole day and doing it really badly. We give them breakfast in bed, but the fruit juice is warm and the eggs and the tea are cold. The toast is not only similarly cold, but also hard and slightly burnt, and when they try to apply the butter, it breaks into seven pieces and the crumbs go all over the bed and their night-dresses.

We shower our mothers with Clicks Chocolate Selection Boxes and those Body Shop frilly baskets full of soap and smelly powders and cocoa-flavoured body butter. I mean, what on earth is body butter?

We then wash the dishes for Mom, but we do it so badly that she has to do them again …. And so the day goes on until the evening, when her best bet is to take back control and to cook supper herself, so that we don’t ruin that too. And to stop us from ordering in pizza. Mothers hate pizza – it represents everything that they think is evil about the modern world, along with socks on the floor and leaving the loo seat up.

So Mother’s Day is about being nice to Moms until they squeal to us to stop. Father’s Day is about doing cool things with Dad and buying him boy’s toys from Cape Union Mart, like knives and everlasting torches and those little screwdriver sets with all the tiny bits that go missing.

Children’s Day is not quite such a laugh, being all about the abolition of child labour – harder labour, that is, than making breakfast in bed or washing the dishes once a year. And there is even a Pet’s Day, when we can show our pets how much we adore them (proof of the old adage that every dog has his day) with a bone, or some catnip or a new chunk of cuttlefish. Pet’s Day is 11th April every year and interestingly enough around the same time as Mother’s Day…

So don’t get confused, or the next thing you will be giving your Dad dry toast smeared, along with the duvet, with cocoa butter, while the dog plays with his new Leatherman and slurps Brandy and Coke at the poolside. Mom will meanwhile be sitting alone on the kitchen floor, sharpening her nails on the cupboard doors and chewing on a cow’s hoof by torchlight.

Happy Mother’s Day.


Chris Harvie - in real life - is a Lowveld hotelier of thirty years' standing. Having cut his tourism teeth in some of South Africa's finest hotels, he founded Rissington Inn in Hazyview, in 1995. In the parallel universe, however, he is a renowned author, inveterate traveller and freelance travel writer with an insider's view of the industry he loves. Often amusing, occasionally caustic and always entertaining, Chris can be relied upon to dig up an unusual tale and to spin it with consummate skill.