In 2003, the Van Huyssteen family bought a 100-year-old house in Heidelberg, Gauteng. After renovating the property, Le Bonheur Guesthouse opened its doors and the Van Huyssteens welcomed their first guests – many of whom have gone on to become friends over the years.
“We cater mainly for business people,” explains Louisa van Huyssteen. With amenities like free Wi- Fi in all six en-suite bedrooms and the three flatlets, a hearty breakfast and the option to order a packed lunch and a home-cooked dinner, it is not surprising that Le Bonheur has built up a steady stream of regulars. “Many of our guests join me in the kitchen for a chat while I cook their dinner,” says Van Huyssteen.
When lockdown first closed Le Bonheur, the long-stay guests who were there at the time left their belongings in their rooms, fully expecting to return by mid-April. This was not to be, and eventually their employer arranged for their effects to be collected. The vacated rooms, however, remained empty as lockdown continued.
“We suddenly had no income, but our overheads, including salaries for our gardener and cleaning lady, had to be paid,” says Van Huyssteen. Relief arrived in the form of an email from a business association that the Van Huyssteens has joined previously. The mail informed members of the Sukuma Fund and included a link to apply.
“ The service was fantastic, and in only a few days we received notification that the funds had been paid into our account,” says Van Huyssteen. “ The grant was a lifeline that allowed us to carry on. We are looking forward to welcoming our guests back soon.”