Bird in motion
Creative spirit and artist at heart, Carol Sanderson has never been one to follow a crowd. Editor Nicky Manson finds out what drives one of the Lowveld’s most visionary trendsetters.
Carol began her colourful career as a radio journalist at the Barberton community radio station. “There, you did everything and anything. Collect news, read news, write, produce, play music, market the business, be the receptionist, make the coffee… It was an excellent place to cut my teeth, as I have no formal education and am a self taught journalist.” The station introduced Carol to the world and its people. The bug had bitten.
Carol had found her passion and ultimately her calling. “I had a passion for the news. I didn’t rely on SABC for resources, I always found my own from opposition parties or disgruntled members. You discover agendas and motives when you leave the office and meet the people outside. I interviewed Thabo Mbeki when he was president. What a great man. Stern. I was so nervous just looking at him. The fact that I was given that opportunity still gives me goose bumps.” When asked what she thinks of him, Carol does not hesitate, “A great leader. A good man. He was exceptionally intelligent and you got the sense he always had a strategy driving his vision.”
Carol met her husband Lloyds Sambo while working at the Witbank studios. The SABC was broadcasting outside in the communities and preparing for the 2009 elections. “We stayed in a hotel and he was visiting the hotel bar. He stood oube because he oozed so much confidence and bravado. Initially I did not know how to respond to his personality. ”
It didn’t take long for the couple to go into business together. “He is an engineer by profession and came from the corporate world so he understood what it took to get a business working.
Casambo was a dream come true for Carol. The idea of building a quality guesthouse had been planted years prior but it was only after the couple’s success in other ventures that it could take shape in reality. But first they had to find the land. “In December 2010 we found our home. I love nature, rocks and trees and the property had 6 hectares and so we built. It was a crazy time. I was still with the SABC. My shift started at 3.30am in Nelspruit. I had a new baby, and I was going to and from work from Casambo. But I loved my job and after every shift I would walk around my empty property and dream!” When property became available next door, the couple bought a further four hectares. In 2012 they moved out of their home and began expanding it into a lodge. Wendy houses were added for self-catering guests, then a restaurant and a conference space. The result is today’s sprawling Casambo.