The rain clouds hang ominously over the Kingfisher Community Centre…but, the Winter sun is determined to stick around. It is a poetically perfect setting to meet the Davenhills: a family whose warmth peeps persistently through the unpredictable weather of life. Say hello to Brendon, Melissa and Sienna.

Whenever one hears the words “high school sweethearts”, a collective “aaaah” almost always follows. “Brendon searched for me,” Melissa smiles sweetly at her husband of 16 years. For Melissa, Brendon was the man she would grow old with. “Not many people find their soulmates at such a young age, and I was blessed to find Brendon when I did.”

Once they were married, and Brendon had passed his board exams to become a Chartered Accountant, the couple was bitten by the travel bug. “We wanted to get it out of our system before we settled down and started a family,” Brendon says, adding the travel bug never really left his system, after all! “I got a two-year contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Bermuda, so we packed our bags and headed into the unknown of Island life.”

Island life was idyllic, for the most part: think turquoise water and pink sand, says Melissa. “There was a hurricane the night we landed,” she remembers with a fond laugh. “But, it was lovely to experience island life, there. We ended up staying for three years and used the opportunity to travel the USA and Europe before returning home. No matter how far you travel, home will always be home and our hearts were always in South Africa.”

Brendon and Melissa initially struggled to conceive, and turned to their family and faith for support. “We had an army of prayer warriors,” Melissa remembers. “When we started our journey, the odds were against us…but we left it with the Lord.” Sienna, their miracle daughter, was born a while later. “S-I-E-N-N-A,” she spells her name shyly, while snuggling into her mother: a carbon copy.

In November 2017, the Davenhills vacationed in Ballito. “Ballito always pulled at us,” Brendon shares. “And, I said to Melissa I loved that it was slower, quieter and peaceful with proximity to work and amenities.” The couple began to investigate life up north, and searched extensively before thinking of Simbithi. “It wasn’t initially on the cards,” Melissa says. “But, when we drove in, I turned to Brendon and told him if we were going to move away from our family, whom we are so close to, then it would be for a life like this. Initially, the move away from family was an adjustment but we both soon realised that our lives needed to be completely shaken up, changed and rearranged to relocate us to the place we were meant to be.”

The Davenhills have been happily settled at Jacana for almost two years, and are carving out their own slice of paradise. They enjoy the safety of the Estate, and the laid-back, easy living. Though lockdown put them through their paces, the family is grateful to have been nestled in Simbithi. Melissa jokes that, teacher, barber and chef have been added to her list of duties while Sienna and Brendon, Provincial Head of Credit for FNB Business, work and learn from home.

Easing of lockdown restrictions meant the Davenhills could venture back out onto the Estate. Brendon, who calls himself an “average, avid runner” has missed the gym but enjoys the nature trails on Simbithi, while his girls are very happy the Heron Pizzeria is open, again! “Sienna had withdrawal symptoms while it was closed,” Melissa chuckles. “We love spending time there during the Summer, enjoying the pool and pizza.” Hawaiian pizza, specifically, according to Sienna: “I used to take the pineapples off, but now I like them.”

For Brendon, Melissa and Sienna, Simbithi is more than ‘home’ – it’s a deep sigh of relief, a sanctuary. “It’s a warm community, too,” Brendon smiles, as Melissa mentions their fondness of attending Simbithi’s community-based events. “I love that Sienna can do the things Melissa and I used to, as children: ride her bike outside and play with children in the neighbourhood.”

We are glad to have you as part of our Simbithi family, Davenhills, and we look forward to seeing you at our events, once again!

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