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Lee- Anne Pace on South Africa

Former LET Money List winner Lee-Anne Pace gives us a flavour of her home country ahead of this month´s South African Women´s Open at Southbroom Golf Club in KwaZulu-Natal from 19-21 April.

Lee-Anne, as a proud South African, where are you born and where is it exactly in the country? I was born in Paarl. It is in the heart of the wine region in South Africa, about 40 min inland from Cape Town.

Tell us more about where you were born. It is a beautiful place surrounded by high mountains and green vineyards. Everywhere you go you see vineyards with old French and Dutch style houses attached to the farms. The weather is extremely hot in summer (up to 40 degrees) and quite cold in winter.

What is the best thing about your country? It would be hard to choose only one, as I love most things about my country. I love the food and wine, the atmosphere at a rugby match, the sun and surf, the people, the beautiful places, the roughness of the coast and the space everywhere.

Give some examples of the traditions from your home town/area that you like or love doing. I actually moved from the wine area to a town called George. It is about 4 hours from Cape Town along the coast and completely different. I enjoy surfing, stand up paddle boarding and fishing. The weather here is moderate and people are very active. Water sports are very popular as well as mountain biking and running.

Tell us something about any of your festivities, what do you do and where do you go? For Christmas we usually get together as a family and eat too much. My parents own an olive farm about 1 and a half hour from where I live with a big farm house so the more the merrier. Every year my mom says that this year it is going to be a small lunch but every year it turns into 4 different meats, 4 different salads, 5 different vegetables and 3 different deserts. It’s very funny. She just can’t help herself.

What is your favourite place in your country and why? That is difficult. I love where I live now. The beach is 10 min away and I love the ocean. But a big part of my heart still lies in the Boland where I grew up. South Africa is very diverse in many aspects such as people, food and scenery.

Name some typical food and drinks from your area that you love. I love grilled lamb chops on the barbeque. We call it a “braai” and it is probably the most popular way of cooking in SA. Most people light a fire with wood and socialize around the fire until it turns into coals. It is a very social get together. I love red wine and SA has a big variety of good wines, red and white. 

What typical food from your country do you like to cook? Braai :)

Be our travel guide... what places would you recommend us to visit in your country and things to do? Cape Town (shark cage diving, Walking up Table Mountain, beautiful scenery) Garden Route (Ocean life, beautiful scenery, surfing, bungy jump 280m at Storms River, elephant sanctuary), Boland (wine tasting, cheese factory), Kruger National Park (Safari)

How do you spend a typical weekend? We usually get together with friends and/or family and watch rugby, braai and socialize.

Which is the most popular sport in your country? Give us an example of how popular it is. What about golf and women’s golf?  Rugby, cricket and golf. Rugby is like a religion in SA. Golf is up there but mainly men’s golf as it is televised live over weekends. Sundays a lot of people watch golf on TV. I think it would be great if we could have women’s golf televised. It would certainly increase in popularity. The main reason why people don’t follow women’s golf is because they don’t know where or when it’s happening.

What are your favourite sports and teams that you support? Do you attend any games?  Rugby. I support the Stormers Rugby team in the Super 15 Series and I am going to a match at Nuweland next week Saturday J Before the match we all get together outside the stadium and set up a braai area. This could start as early as 10 am. The match starts at 5pm. Thousands of fans do that so you get to socialize and meet new people and before the match starts.

What about surfing in South Africa? Do you surf, did you surf at school and how good are you? I am not great at surfing, but I do love it. I am much better at stand up paddle boarding as there I am already standing up when the wave comes. I did not surf at school, I only started a few years ago. I wish I could be better but with golf there is not much time for surfing.

Who is your favourite celebrity/personality/idol from your country that you are really proud of and why? (It could be a politician, scientist, actor, musician...) I really like Ernie Els and have liked him since I started playing golf. Funny thing is I have never met him. I am also a fan of Prime Circle and the Parlotones, both bands from SA.

What do you miss from home when you come to Europe to play?  Friends, family, biltong, braai.

Is there something unusual from your country that you could explain to us? Many people think that South Africa is the most dangerous place on earth. Like any other country there are places you should not go to. It is not as bad as people think. People think it is a third world country and in some areas we are. But in some areas we are also first world and better than some of the European countries that I have seen. We are self sufficient in every way. Unfortunately our ancestors made some bad decisions. Decisions, which has influenced our generation and has left us with scars of the past.

Are you familiar with stories and legends of your country or region? SA has 11 official languages. Which one do you speak normally? What are your favourite South African sayings?  I speak Afrikaans at home. “just now” This could mean anywhere from now to many hours later or before. “lekker”  Means nice.

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