Andrew Woodburn has been recognised with a Silver Award for Wedding photography in the Fuji Professional Awards 2006.
Andrew's speech at his Wedding to Clara , 25th February 2006
This text is the unpolished, unpunctuated guideline to the speech that day for many of our friends who were unable to travel to Capetown for the wedding.
Welcome everyone, what a day.
This has been such a momentous occasion not only due to its time in coming but also from power failures, and visitors traveling from all corners of the planet.
I think we have the complete globe covered as there are guests from every continent.
Asia represented by Hongkong, Delia and Tom.
Europe with particular mention to Mark Tindell who will probably spend more time in an aircraft than on the ground.
The USA with all Clara's friends & family and the Morgan's doing time zones with two small kids.
South America with Liz who was bumped off her flight on Thursday evening and managed to touch down this morning.
Both ends of Africa, Sherief and Nadia form Egypt and friends from the cities as well as farms (Quentin de bruyn and the farming Woodburn's).
And even Antarctica, Dave Frank your esteemed Master of Ceremonies was the leader of the South African expedition while the Sanae base was being upgraded.
A special mention needs be passed on to those at the bachelor function who gave advice, I have been practising many of the skills you wisely advised.
It is such an honour to have everyone gathered with us for this day, as we know how much time and money it takes to get round the planet and want to thank all the travelers and hope the Cape of Good Hope has lived up to its reputation.
I'd like to begin in the beginning and that would be with my parents.
Dear mom and dad, (could be known as the minister of finance and minister of home affairs) thank you for all your constant support over many years, of turning the opportunities that lay before me into reality, with vision, enthusiasm, finance, and encouragement even when you might not have thought some of the ideas I presented were entirely sensible ( my mom even threatened to take me out the will if I went to Mozambique in the early 90s, but even she couldn't really stop the adventure). Your unbelievable example of marriage and child raising will be a hard act to follow. The future will have some tasks such as children, business and winning a wildlife photographer of the year award for dad or myself all of which I look forward to us sharing as a new family.
It is with great sadness and loss that I never managed to meet Clara's parents but spending a few days with her siblings I can say that I'm sure my introduction to the global family of Simpers will bring many new experiences not to say the least that I became an instant uncle to 7 nieces and nephews, which I look forward to leading astray as quickly as possible into skydiving, climbing and adventuring in Africa.
So I thought I'd tell a quick story of my life since so many people here are from other parts of the world.
I am an adventurer, and it has only really come to me in the last decade. I love to swim against the stream, take the road less traveled and design new ways of doing the same old thing much better. It all started on 15th March 1970 in Johannesburg, South Africa , and from what I hear the first few years were pretty easy going until Laurence, my brother arrived after which child raising became and ordeal consisting of schooling, fighting, holidays with the farm Woodburn's , sport, homework. Lar, thanks for the early years, they were great till you got heavier than me.
It was at this time that friends became key to how life developed and I'm glad to say besides Rob Brooks in Australia I have two of my oldest friends here today, both going by the same name of Jody / Jodee. I met them at about 12 years old and feel privileged to have such long standing relationships in my life.
High School, as Jody White will tell you was tough as I wasn't very tall and was firmly entrenched in the nerd herd. This had its benefits as we managed to avoid the sissy girl game and do great boys stuff. After matriculation I moved into Chemical Engineering at WITS where I really learnt what hard work was, I learnt from the failures and celebrated the successes finally managing to get entrance into Oxford University.
I think this is where life truly began for me; I was out there in the world and had to learn to sink or swim. The learning I was able to do and people I was able to meet were unbelievable, the friendships that I still hold dear, Quent, Dave, Mouse, Gushy, and Gareth have endured beyond distance. Gareth in fact must take responsibility for introducing me to most of my current circle on my return from the UK. Thankfully though I managed to get rid of him as his CFU role had made many potential female liaisons fail at the first step without me even being able to show my true colours.
So by 1995 I had managed to get round the globe a bit, fell in love with being underwater, put a few degrees under my belt and had seen the peaceful transition of South Africa a miracle in its own right, and yet I knew nothing.
The journey I was about to embark on would change my life forever. In fact Nigel Smith needs to take a large portion of responsibility for this marriage since he first came out to South Africa to interview and set up with my father, Woodburn Mann as a part of Whitehead Mann over 20 years ago. I was living on Nigel and Wendy Smiths floor south of London when he suggested I get to work. Work was to be filing in Whitehead Mann, thankfully uncle Clive soon saw to it that he got a better return on his investment than that, and I was inducted into the art of headhunting. It was in this very institution in 1996 that I was to meet my wife to be. Clara was introduced to me when she arrived as the all knowing research guru to be working with the mighty but not as mighty as Nigel Smith, Simon Bart.
Being a simple African boy, young and innocent and as pure as the driven snow, little did I know what her intentions would be? I finally managed to persuade Clara at the horse races to run at lunch time with me in London's, Hyde Park, no mean feat as it was winter. I even tried to let her beat me periodically but it just wasn't to be, as I only found out years later that actually what she wanted, was to be able to ogle my butt in the running tights I used to wear.
Our relationship grew rapidly in 1997 but unfortunately due to EU work permit stuff I headed back to South Africa and Clara within a short time went to New York.
Aimless and lost I was adopted by SAB and still to this day love the company and its products (since it's a beer company its not that difficult) but the real gems were the friends I made Richard Chance and Steve Woodward, who to this day remain my mentors and adventure partners, while Angela van hoffen and Lara Hirshowitz are still making the wheels turn. Before bowing to my free spirit I was lucky enough to help launch African Bank which provided funding for travel. It was a wild time exploring South Africa and the globe, accumulating relationships built while climbing mountains, skydiving, riding bikes, camping and diving. These activities have brought me such rich and diverse links and are really the platform for my creative expression with a camera. Simon Murray( who unfortunately can't be here due to the untimely birth of his son) Rowan Duval, Rowan and Jo Goeller , Jimmy Fraser, Lynne Fraser, Ian , Alan Lloyd, Jezza, Cormac McCreesh, and the Couzyns thanks for all your support.
But all good things must come to an end and so with the return of David Amm from Durban, Hawkeye was born, with no expectations, three years later we've survived, learnt a ton and are enduring growing pains. Thanks Dave for your friendship, keen love of analytics, focus (so much so he is almost deaf in the office), and patience with my lifestyle.
I might not take as much care of my friends as I would like, but each of you holds a special place. I love learning about new things, different views, and peopleâ€™s paths through their challenges, so I may try to take support and guidance from those who've gone before me. So a great thank you to all those who give me their time and answer all my questions. Thanks to those who walk the adventurous paths with me in the air, under the sea and to the top of mountains
It was on a business trip in 2003 to silicone valley that I managed to reestablish contact with Clara in NY and after feeding about half the cities quarters into a payphone managed to get a cup of tea at Moby's with her before my flight left. I knew after talking with her for a short time that she was the one
So with the background all neat and tidy I can move onto the serious stuff. I've been blessed with Clara.
Before I talk to Clara I'd like to tell you about a little guidance that I got from my parents about finding a good woman. My father used to say, that in this day and age, you have to look out for a woman with balls, a bit surprising I know, but anything goes these days. He went on to add that they would have to have one made of crystal to see into the future and one made of titanium, to absorb shock and remain rust free. Just when I began to despair as I couldnâ€™t find these balls on Clara my mom came to the rescue and pronounced that she had lovely balls, eyeballs.
Clara is intense, (just wait; your turn will come to be cross questioned). She is dedicated to the tasks she sets herself and the people around her. She is the most well researched traveler who has lead me to some odd , hidden away places on the planet, more of which I am looking forward to uncovering together. Since school she has been a physical performer in many sports and activities. For your athletic grace babe I am truly thankful as I am able to share with you all the wild and wonderful places and creatures hiding away under oceans. You should see her free diving with whale sharks, cycling across landscapes and scaling up cliffs. ( it's also not too shabby having a partner who can carry the bigger rucksack).
One of her finest hours was rolling off a rubber duck with me (after telling me she wasn't a great swimmer) and diving with four 5m tiger sharks. Big points belle. Of course there is the lighter side, when she encounters an African bug (shongololo) there are squeals of terror and I can't count the number of times I've been prancing around in the middle of the night naked, towel in hand trying to hunt mosquitoes on the ceiling.
Not only does she support my passion for the planet but thinks I'm the best photographer about and patiently models in all sorts of weird places and poses.
I admire her dedication and determination to her yoga business, YOGAWARRIOR, which two years later has a leading edge website which she manages, a loyal following and odd calls from people who have heard about her and want guidance with their practise.
But without doubt the most powerful skill she has is building and holding relationships, right across the planet if necessary. Underneath her focussed exterior is a deep caring for those around her.
We've had some interesting times so far, when I talk about a couple, it means between 2 and 10 but for clara it's just 2 this has led to some misunderstandings as with other terms, we lost Mr Big but found an Angel, our house has been transformed from a guys gear room to a beautiful home, we swam with whales, climbed Swinburne, and seen the Big 5, amongst other adventures.
Anne Claire while
I am practical and solution driven, you bring in feeling and emotion
I want speed, you bring calm
I need fuel, you love food
I head for the summit, you remind me to enjoy the view
I swim against the tide, you monitor my progress
I love function, while you make it fashionable
I'd like to toast my new wife
I love your intellect, beauty and spirit.
You are the sexiest woman on the planet and I am humbled to be your husband.
Life isn't always a bed of roses (particularly pink ones) and Africa is not for sissies, but I know after all the long distance, country changing, entrepreneurial, financial and character challenges we have conquered together,
Our adventure will be thrilling, and we can only grow and succeed together.
Belle I love you.