They won’t tell you fairytales
of how girls can be dangerous and still win.
They will only tell you stories
where girls are sweet and kind
and reject all sin.
I guess to them
it’s a terrifying thought,
a red riding hood
who knew exactly
what she was doing
when she invited the wild in.
To her own daughters, Nataly van der Westhuizen is a beautiful dreamcatcher, absorbing the most terrible things for the ones she loves, and leaving them only the softest, gentlest thoughts behind. Each strand of her magical web is woven from the remnants of a hard-fought, selfless and determined life. If there’s one thing the CEO Head of Administration wants her children to grasp, it’s that they never have to be just a drop in the turbulent ocean of humanity – they get to be the whole storm.
The very first fibre of Nataly’s strong-willed ‘hoop’ was tied when she was just 14 years old. “As children, we were very privileged to have wonderful parents who had our interests and well-being at heart. But life is not always sunshine and roses, and there were many years when our family fell on hard times.” The barely teenage Nataly began working in the kitchen at the Kempton Park Golf Club. Then, aged 15 she started helping in the function section of the golf club as a waitress. She would always give her earnings to her parents to ensure the family would be cared for.
By 17, Nataly had started her own wedding and function planning business – an enterprise that would see her through her high school career and pay for a trusty old VW Beetle. She jokes that she “matriculated with her skin still stuck to the tar! But for me, a pass was a pass.” There weren’t enough funds to study further, so Nataly closed her business and went in search of work.
She began a new life in Nelspruit, where she quickly discovered that a world of opportunity awaits anyone who isn’t afraid to work hard, be innovate, and constantly strive for better. “Because I did not study further, I always understood I would most likely work in administration. But, I never dreamt I would be the Head of it! I know where I want to be and what I want to do, every day prepares me for my future. Even though I am now the Head of Administration, I would like to be even better in my department and do even more than is expected of me.”
Nataly eventually relocated to Gauteng, where she began working at CEO. “She is an amazingly hardworking, loyal person, with a great sense of humour,” says Executive Director, Annelien Breed. “Nataly is always willing to go the extra mile, and never shies away from a challenge.” The sentiment is reciprocated. “Annelien is a wonderful person, and she motivates me to be a better person in my personal life as well as in my professional life,” Nataly says.
She is incredibly proud of her project development wizardry and all the Apps she has built for CEO – including their ‘InTheKnOw’ portal. “I surprise myself when getting it right,” she laughs. “Every time someone wants to do something different, then I say I will look into it because I do not have enough confidence in myself to get it actually right. But then I surprise myself every time!” Magic!
Nataly was married at the age of 21. “When you know, you know!” she sniggers. She had her first daughter at the age of 25 and her second daughter at the age of 30. Nowadays, she likes to relax by doing some bass fishing or camping out. “If I cannot do that, then I like to relax at home with lots of coffee and my kids.”
There’s a magic that’s conjured out of nothing.
And then there’s a magic that comes from pure fight and ambition. The Nataly Magic.
Is there an App for that? Hang on, she’ll get back to you…