The three month long competition that ran on Explore South Africa’s website finally came to an end in December last year. After careful selection of the 10 finalists, it came down to making the calls to let them know they made the final draw.
These phone calls are always a blast. The responses you get are amazing, some scream, some are extremely joyful while others are almost lost for words – of course you always get those that don’t remember entering the competition, too.
During this time I came across numerous people who really wanted the prize. Some were newlyweds, others were due to get married shortly and finally there were those who were looking for a second honeymoon.
Unfortunately for nine of the ten finalists, it all comes down to a draw and only one can win.
In the end, the name of Vicky Verwey appeared from the final draw.
I recalled the initial phone call with Vicky and remembered her disbelieving voice – it was time to deliver the news of reality.
While I am in no position to judge who is more deserving of the prize, I will say that I’d struggle to find someone who wanted it more than her.
It has been a long journey for Vicky and her fiancé, Roberto (Rob) Betta. They have been together since the year 2000, and to be more specific, they met at a nightclub on 23 September 2000.
Both Roberto and Vicky work for the family business in East London.
Roberto was born in South Africa to Italian parents, but after they separated, he remained here with his mother.
On 1 September 2013, Vicky and Roberto were finally engaged (13 years of meeting). This happened while on holiday in Italy with Vicky’s family as they were visiting Roberto’s father and other family.
This was how they got engaged, in Vicky’s own words.
“On this night Roberto casually suggested that we go to town to walk around one more time before we go home… we ended up having dinner at a lovely restaurant in the piazza close to the Lake front. After dinner we went for a walk along the lake. The moon seemed very bright and you could see its reflection on the lake. The natural lake shore is made up of tiny pebbles and stones.
Roberto started to pick up a few larger flatter stones and tried to skip them on the lake surface. He told me he remembers doing this with his dad when he was still small. He gave me a few to try, but I was terrible at it… most of my stones just ‘plonked’ straight into the water. He continued to bend down and pick up stones and while he bent down to pick up another one, he turned around to me and as he put a stone in my hand he said “Why don’t you try THIS stone?” … as I looked down at the stone he placed in my hand, next to it was a ring! I was lost for words and ended up standing there frozen still as he asked me to marry him. Of course I said YES! And instantly burst into tears… happy tears!
At that exact moment, the heavens opened up and it started to bucket down with rain. We ran for cover under an old tree next to the lake and waited for a while for the rain to clear... we then walked to his father’s house closeby for some dry clothes, towels and an umbrella before we walked back to our car. We decided to keep our engagement a secret until our dinner together with both our families the following night (our last night in Italy)… but I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer… as soon as we got home we knocked on my mom’s door and told her the news!”
Roberto had asked Vicky’s mother and brother for her hand in marriage before they left for Italy.
Sadly, Vicky’s father passed away in 1999 - her brother will be the one by her side as she walks down the aisle in Stellenbosch on 8 August 2015.
They enjoy life outdoors and wildlife - both are regulars at game reserves in the area as well.
From Explore South Africa and BON Hotel Shelley Point we wish the two of you all the best and may you prosper in your new life together.