'I do it for my future grandchildren' - creator of iconic Christmas lights display

2017-12-20 13:05
Sixty-three-year-old Schalk Boonzaaier who works six weeks a year to create the intricate lighting display of his home in Kleinmond.(Supplied: Anida de Villiers)

Sixty-three-year-old Schalk Boonzaaier who works six weeks a year to create the intricate lighting display of his home in Kleinmond.(Supplied: Anida de Villiers)

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Cape Town – The prospect of grandchildren is what keeps 63-year-old Schalk Boonzaaier inspired to continue his tradition of lighting up his home in Kleinmond, Western Cape, for the Christmas holidays.  

"I just want to show them the lights, see their laughter as they get mesmerised by the lights," Boonzaaier says, standing in front of his double-storey property.

His first grandchild is set to arrive in January.

"To see children, to see them enjoy what I’ve created gives me more joy than what you can imagine."

The property along Kleinmond’s 15th Avenue, nestled across a retirement village, has become a tourist hotspot over the December holidays as hundreds enjoy the intricate display of Santa Clauses rushing over the roof with a reindeer with moving heads. 

- ENTER: News24 is looking for SA's most festively decorated home

While visitors take selfies and record Snapchat updates in the reflection of the dazzling lights, Boonzaaier says he and his family enjoy 'braaing' some meat while visitors view the display.  

"I love staring at the people [and] enjoying the lights from where we braai. I spend so long putting it up and when I see their faces I know it’s all worth it.

"Fourteen years and not one case of vandalism or stealing, just people enjoying the beauty – imagine that."

This year Boonzaaier, with the help of a general worker from a local garage, spent six weeks putting up the lights. 

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The iconic holiday lights display in Kleinmond's 15th avenue (Supplied: Anida de Villiers)

Boonzaaier, a mechanic by trade, says he first got inspired to make the lighting display after he saw some lights in a supermarket. 

"From there it kind of took off."

'Not a competition'

Spending three times his average electricity bill, Boonzaaier usually switches on the display on the weekend closest to December 7 until the weekend closest to January 7. 

"It’s not a competition, I do it for the love of it," Boonzaaier repeats throughout his interview with News24. 

The soon-to-be grandfather has become somewhat of a celebrity in Kleinmond, a roughly two-hour drive from Cape Town, with children religiously writing him letters every year. 

Boonzaaier takes out a file with all his letters and smiles. 

"Thank you for the Christmas lights – it’s very pretty," one letter reads.

Another letter gets signed: "P.S We stay with our grandmother in Fifth Avenue."

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One of the letters Boonzaaier received from the children. It reads: "Dear uncle and aunt, thank you very much for the Christmas lights! It is very pretty!" (Supplied)

One of the pictures that was drawn by children for Boonzaaier. (Supplied)

He adjusts a string of lights draped over a window before a photo of him is taken, his attention to detail and love for the project clearly noticeable. 

"I look forward most to Christmas Eve when we distribute a thousand lollipops and a brass band from Grabouw comes to perform," Boonzaaier says with a twinkle in his eyes. 

"It’s simply breathtaking."

* The lighting display of Boonzaaier’s home is switched on daily from 20:00 until 23:00. On Christmas Eve, the display will be switched off at midnight. Visitors are encouraged to visit the property. 

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(Supplied: Schalk Boonzaaier)
Read more on:    cape town  |  festive season  |  good news

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