BIOGRAPHY

ACILIA SCHOEMAN

 

I am a local South African-born, nationally-registered tour guide who has lived in Cape Town for the last 20 years. I graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in the winelands with a degree in languages and with a lot of experience of the wine industry! I started work at the University of South Africa and then for South African television. My working life has taken me to most of Europe, especially our heritage countries, filming programmes dealing with the South African culture and heritage. This has encouraged my wanderlust, which has in later years taken me to the United States, China and India and around the horn of South America and other fascinating places too!

Before I finally decided on my present profession I was fortunate enough to gain intimate experience of both the old and the new South Africa from a position close to the centre of government. In my position as public relations officer I assisted ministers with their official functions, press programmes and parliamentary duties. In this capacity I also acted as guide to official visitors from all over the world. It was my job to draw up programmes suited to their interest-field and to accompany them during their stay in South Africa, arranging interviews with major public figures from all walks of life on a political, socio-economical level.

It was experiences such as these that inspired me to decide to become a freelance tourist-guide. And I am so glad I did! I find it hard to believe that I have been fifteen years at it now! The fact that I speak German, Spanish, Dutch, French and Flemish, as well as English and Afrikaans have made it possible for me to engage with a wonderfully diverse range of people.

My philosophy of life has great sympathy with the traditional African philosophy of UBUNTU which believes that a person is a person, through their communion with other persons. In South Africa this idea applies to cultures as well as individuals. The diversity of lifestyles, from cuisine to religion, has led to our Mr Mandela calling us his “rainbow nation”.

I enjoy the finer things in life like art, antiques, jewellery-making (as a hobby), wine and cuisine. I also love ballroom dancing, art-movies and gardening. I am married to a philosophy professor at the University of Cape Town who has written several books on African philosophy.

On a tour with me I try to take you through the beautiful surface to a deeper vision of the South African spirit. I have travelled far and wide yet I can now feel that I live in the most perfect place on Earth. I think that guests who tour with me find that they have been changed by their experiences here. They take home special memories of their visit as well as marvellous photos or jewellery and artwork they have bought as well as food for thought!
 

Letters from previous guests