Do you know my friend Mariette Viljoen?
Mariette was paralysed from the neck down in a horrific car accident in 2009.
I still remember that phone call.
I remember crying myself to sleep that night, and many nights after that.
I remember driving to the Bloemfontein hospital where I feared I would have to say goodbye to my friend… my friend whose body had been completely broken.
Mariette’s body may have been broken, but it was impossible to break her spirit. She not only survived, but she soared. She fought as hard as any warrior, and she is alive today.
More than that, she lives a happy life.
Mariette and her husband Dawie have taught me that love really does conquer all things. Their journey has not been an easy one, but they are a testimony that you don’t need an ‘easy’ life to have a happy life.
Ever since the accident I wanted to do a portrait session with Mariette. I wanted to capture her soul, this ever dancing happy soul of hers.
And finally, ten years after the accident it all came together.
On the morning of the shoot, I pushed an old camera into my assistant’s hands and said “just keep shooting! “ All I wanted was a couple of ‘behind the scenes’ to remember the day. I could never have imagined the incredible footage that this youngster would produce, and what it would mean to me days later to be able to look back and remember.
Thank you Eloise Bubb for capturing the story behind the story.
A lot of hard work and planning goes into a shoot like this, so many things to take into account. Working with a fragile body, the equipment, the set changes, and dresses… Everything had to be planned and worked out ahead of time. The footage captured here tells part of this story.
But it also tells the human story: the love between people and the power to overcome.
This is the story of Dawie and Mariette, a story worth telling.
Mariette and Dawie I’m so blessed to know you.
All my industry friends who helped make this dream possible.
Special thanks to
Morrells Botique hotel– Venue
Silver Swallow – dresses.
1988 Films – video edit.
Illana Zietsman – make-up.
Ramona Fortuna Afonso – Flowers
And my wonderful team – Michelle Pretorius, Susan Tladi and Eloise Bubb.