‘Pietermaritzburg just felt like home’

2017-04-18 13:38
Amal Ma’ani-Hessari: ‘Living in Pietermaritzburg was the first time I felt like I was not a foreigner.’

Amal Ma’ani-Hessari: ‘Living in Pietermaritzburg was the first time I felt like I was not a foreigner.’ (Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The sixth child of a Palestinian mother and fathered by a colonel of the Persian Army, Amal Ma’ani-Hessari now owns a successful Pietermaritzburg business and is loved by many in the city.

“I was born in a small town in the northeast of Iran before moving to the Iranian capital, Tehran.

“We moved to the UK when I was 14 because two of my brothers were already there.

“We moved just before the start of the Iranian revolution and in less than a year in the UK, the revolution began.

“My father was a colonel and was relying on his pension, but when the revolution happened, everything stopped and we became refugees.

“We could not go back to Iran because anyone above the rank of captain was to be executed.

“When we moved to the UK, I could not speak a word of English, but I had a wonderful teacher who used free periods to teach me.

“I schooled in Cornwall and went to design school when I was 17.

“I met my wife, Sharon, while at college. We were married at 23 and moved to Ireland.

“All four of my children were born in Northern Ireland.

“In 1992, I came to South Africa on holiday and fell in love with the country. It was the first time somewhere felt like home.

“We moved to South Africa in 2003 and, after looking for a province to live in, settled on Pietermaritzburg because of the quality education and because it felt like home.

“Living in Pietermaritzburg was the first time I felt like I was not a foreigner.

“People say it is the ‘sleepy hollow’ but I love the gentleness of life here.

“I set up my own graphic design company, One Circle, and have clients locally and abroad.

“I was one of the finalists working with the South African Parliament on the proposed emblem that was launched in March 2007.

“Pietermaritzburg is a good place. I like the speed of life and I am glad our family chose this city to settle in,” Ma’ani-Hessari concluded.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pmb people

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.