Duane Christie and Mary Mullan-Christie

You may not believe in fate or destiny, but some of us have been touched by it more than once. Duane and Mary are two of those. The first time destiny touched them was in 2007 when they met at a Halloween party in Chiayi City, Taiwan. Two South Africans, years apart, on the other side of the world in one of the smallest cities on a small island -- met and fell in love. This is usually where the narrator would say “and the rest is history” but not so. Fast forward 9 years and destiny came a-knocking again. While camping at Hutoupi in Taiwan for their wedding anniversary, Duane and Mary marveled at the peace and quiet they found in nature, something they sorely missed about their beloved South Africa. The next day they thought this would be shattered by the 2000+attendees at a local event there, but luckily not. Even with all the extra bodies and sounds they could still enjoy nature and find some peace. And so they decided that this beautiful location would be the perfect place to host a South African Festival. Little over a year later, they did just that!

 

Combining their expertise in tourism (Duane) and business management (Mary) with their South African pig-headedness (stubbornness) they set out to host a festival that brought cultures, languages, ages, races and personalities together. Back home we would call this Ubuntu, a Bantu word that speaks of the bond we all share as humans. And they didn’t stop there, they went on to host two more SaffaFests within another year.

也許你不相信命運或天意,但我們已不只一次深受感動。Duane 和Mary便是其中一例。命中注定的他們,在2007年於嘉義市舉辦的一場萬聖節舞會中相遇。兩個南非人,在這世界另一端的小島上相遇並相戀。講到這裡,戲劇的旁白通常會說:接下來的發展你們都知道了…但其實不然。9年後,命運再度來敲門。當他們到台南虎頭埤露營,慶祝結婚週年時,對虎頭埤的寧靜與和平深感讚嘆,令兩人回想起深愛的家鄉-南非。隔天有人在虎頭埤舉辦活動,現場人數超過兩千人,原以為吵雜的音量會破壞大自然的寧靜,但就算人聲鼎沸,他們仍然享受著大自然之美。因此,他們計畫要在這裡舉辦南非文化祭。過了一年多,他們的願望真的實現了!

 

結合Duane 的旅遊專業知識及Mary 的企管專長,他們開始著手主辦南非文化祭事宜,結合不同文化、語言、年紀、種族及人格特質。在南非家鄉,他們稱之為Ubuntu,這個字源自於班圖語,意思為一種群體的概念,代表人們共創共享、共生共榮。但他們不就此停歇,在隔年又繼續舉辦了兩場南非文化祭活動。