Rosie blossoms above the rest

28 September 2012
Rosie blossoms above the rest
THE garden town of Uitenhage is synonymous with Strelitzias but at Cuyler Manor Museum there is a “rose” than stands out above all, Rosie Mtyingizane, this month’s Walking the Extra Mile nominee.

The museum’s auxiliary officer, “Ouma Rosie”, as she is affectionately known, enthralls every visitor as she shares her passion and knowledge about how people lived in the Nelson Mandela Bay region way back then. She conducts tours in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa, easily slipping from one to the other as her story and audience demands.

“I love my job. When I know there is a group coming to the museum, then I don’t sleep the night before because I am so excited and worried that I don’t speak English well enough. I enjoy meeting people, especially the children. They love my stories,” said Rosie.

The Traveling Tribe accompanied Rosie on one of her tours recently. They were blown away by her enthusiasm and knowledge - all stored in her head!

“Even though visitors can walk around the complex themselves, Rosie still accompanies each group that enters the museum. She shows them around the farm yard, water mill, Xhosa hut and finally the manor house where most of the fun takes place,” said Nelson Mandela Bay staff member Jonker Fourie.

“With each group Rosie pulls out a period dress and kappie. But it’s not enough just dressing up. She will also hand you a walking stick and tells you to pull the commode from under the bed without messing. Even though she’s done it so many times before she still joins in the fun and along with her visitors, throws back her head and laughs every time. She even offered to hold the baby of one of the Traveling Tribe nominees, so she didn’t miss out. Needless to say the baby tried out one of the antique cribs.”

All who visited, agreed that Rosie has a special place in her heart for children. They were fascinated when she demonstrated how candles and soap were made decades ago. And, they shrieked with delight when she told stories about how cow dung was used not only to make floors, but also as a healing commodity.

“For NMBT’s recent TravelQuest, Rosie especially opened the museum and made roosterkoek and coffee for the participants without hesitation. There is no doubt about it, Rosie deserves to be October’s Walking the Extra Mile nominee. She walks and talks what she preaches every day with a smile and enthusiasm that is unmatched by many people who work in museums,” said Jonker.

What’s more, Rosie started work as a volunteer at the museum in 1986. For her efforts and dedication she secured a full-time job in 1987.

“Over the years Rosie has gathered encyclopedias worth of information about Cuyler Manor, Col Cuyler himself and the Uitenhage area. Rosie’s daughter would also like to follow in her mother’s footsteps and work in the tourism industry. She is also a volunteer at the museum, while on the look out for more permanent work,” said Jonker.

* Cuyler Manor Museum is open from Monday to Thursday 10h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 16h30 and Friday 10h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 15h00. Entrance fee R5,00 per person.
Call +27 (0) 41 992 2063 or e-mail

Nominate somebody

If you know of people or organisations in the tourism industry in the region who, like Zeiss, go beyond the call of duty, then let NMBT know so that they can be considered as nominees in the Waling the Extra Mile initiative.

Candidates must be nominated before the 20th of each month. A winner will be selected who The winner will receive exposure in the Imvaba newsletter, syndicated to over 2 000 readers, on the NMBT Facebook page and are in the running for the overall title, announced at the final NMBT membership meeting

Send all Walking the Extra Mile nominations to Reuann Smith at or phone 041 582 2575 before the 20th of each month.