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Couple rings in 60 years of diamond-strong love

The local couple will be celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss with their family.

HIGHWAY’S Siegfried and Margaret Hanelt will celebrate 60 years of adventure-filled wedded bliss on September 9.

The couple met as teenagers as they were both members of the Methodist Guild at the Claremont Methodist Church in Cape Town. Their outings, together with the rest of the guild, included climbing Table Mountain and catching the train to spend the day at Fish Hoek Beach.

“We started going steady in 1957,” smiled Siegfried, who is affectionately known as Sieggy.

Two years later he popped the question and Margaret responded with a jubilant ‘yes!’. As he worked for the South African Post Office as a technician, he was transferred to Pietermaritzburg in January 1959, while Margaret stayed behind in Cape Town to complete her nursing training at Groote Schuur Hospital. Thus began a long-distance, two-year courtship.

They tied the knot on September 9 in 1961 at the Clarement Methodist Church in Cape Town.

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For their honeymoon, they took an adventurous car trip to Pietermaritzburg along the Garden Route with a carload of wedding presents.

“We set up home together and spent 10 happy years in Pietermaritzburg, where our two daughters were born at Grey’s Hospital,” said Margaret.

Sieggy took up a position at Telkom when the postal and technical sections split. He was then transferred to Port Elizabeth Telkom Training College in a lecturing capacity. After three years, the family returned to KwaZulu-Natal. This time Sieggy lectured at Durban College, where he worked until his retirement in 1994, after 40 years of service.

The Hanelts have been avid caravanners since 1973 and have travelled the length and breadth of South Africa. They have even joined caravan tours across borders on many occasions and led a few of the tours themselves.

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“Our favourite place to visit is the Drakensberg. To us, it’s the nearest place to heaven on earth. We have also backpacked in Europe,” they said.

The bucket list is to continue their travelling journey and includes a visit to see the Namaqualand flowers again as well as Soussousvlei, the Serengeti and Kiliminjaro.

They have two daughters, Sonja and Erika, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Their hobbies include caravanning and, when they are at home, enjoy gardening and reading.

“Sieggy potters around the house – he’s a real jack of all trades, fixing things. We both love watching sport, especially rugby, and playing bowls,” said Margaret.

Sieggy responded with: “Margaret enjoys all handicrafts, doing puzzles and crosswords, and is an active member of the Cowies Hill-Westville Women’s Institute. We both love music, dancing and playing our collection of CDs.”

To celebrate their special day, the couple will host a get-together with their family.

“Our secret to a successful, long marriage is that communication is key together with lots of love and understanding, patience and trust. It is also necessary to respect each other’s space and to have one’s own interests, yet support each other. A good sense of humour has helped us through many a time over the years,” they shared.

The couple on their wedding day in 1961.



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