Romeo Kern is a real-life knight in shining armour. This renowned chef from Cape Town and his wife have adopted a young teenage girl, Zinzi*, and her son, Noah. Zinzi is from Khayelitsha, reputed to be Cape Town’s largest township, which also contains a multitude of informal dwellings. The majority of people living there experience extreme poverty and hardship, and crime is rampant.
Hope for a better life than the one they were destined to have
Not much more than a child, Zinzi was raped when she was 16, which resulted in her becoming pregnant and giving birth to baby Noah. She also contracted Aids when she was raped and still has occasional nightmares. Then along came Romeo and his wife to give them the hope for a better life than the one they were destined to have.
The children now live in one of Cape Town’s upmarket seaside suburbs in a beautiful home, with a lovely garden and pool. And a swing for Noah, of course! Romeo says that, while he and his wife have jobs that are not the best-paid, they can afford to provide for the pair’s future and education.
She says they are her parents now
Their story was broadcast on German television (the Kerns’ motherland) with a documentary that was made of the family. Romeo received a flood of hundreds of FB messages after the documentary was screened congratulating and applauding the couple. In an emotional moment for both Romeo and Zinzi in the video, she says that they are her parents now. When talking to Noah, Romeo refers to himself as “Grandpa”. He has posted many pictures of Noah online – a proud Opa indeed! It is heartwarming to see the love that is portrayed in some of these.
Training up young people to become chefs
Romeo runs a chef and hospitality school. His students provides training for people from those with no skills in the industry whatsoever, to more accomplished cooks and chefs. It provides a wonderful opportunity for school-leavers seeking to train for a career in this industry. Indeed, the pictures show many young people in “class” with him. Maybe his two children will follow in his footsteps?
“Our love for Zinzi and Noah will never fade. On the contrary, it will grow deeper and stronger as more time goes by.”
He wrote: “My wife and I are very proud of what we are doing, by giving Zinzi and Noah a second chance in life. Our love for Zinzi and Noah will never fade, on the contrary, it will grow deeper and stronger as more time goes by.”
Since this story was written, Noah has turned one year old. His new pictures portray a smiling, thriving little boy, who has started to walk. We wish this little family much joy; especially Zinzi, who is still healing from her traumatic experience.
* Not her real name.
Edited By: Val Bruce
GOOD THOUGHTS • GOOD WORDS • GOOD DEEDS
Team Lead & Final Editing for #ImStaying
A lover of words, mentoring, networking, and helping my fellow man to ‘learn to fish’. Driven by a hunger to never stop learning, a passion for adventure and travel, sundowners and laughter with good friends. At the end of the day what brings great delight to my life are my young adult sons.
Quote: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela