‘It felt like an earthquake’: Helen Zille avoids injury at 70th celebration

12 March 2021 - 11:10
By Unathi Nkanjeni
DA federal council chair Helen Zille's romantic birthday dinner turned into an 'adventurous celebration'. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell DA federal council chair Helen Zille's romantic birthday dinner turned into an 'adventurous celebration'. File photo.

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille is thankful to be alive after narrowly avoiding an injury while dining out on the night of her 70th birthday.

This week Zille shared how the night of her birthday turned into an “adventurous celebration” when a strong wind in Cape Town caused a tree to fall through the roof of the restaurant in which she and her husband, Johann Maree, were dining.

Zille was dining at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, where she and her husband were married in 1982.

She said no-one was injured during the incident, saying it “felt like an earthquake”.  

“While my husband and I were having dinner at the venue where we got married, the wind brought this 300-year-old oak tree crashing down,” Zille wrote on Facebook.

“It felt like an earthquake as it ripped through the roof and shattered glass. Fortunately no-one was in its direct path. Adventurous celebration.”

While my husband and I were having dinner at the venue where we got married, the wind brought this 300 year old oak tree...

Posted by Helen Zille on Tuesday, March 9, 2021

While the incident could have turned out deadly, Zille’s followers were quick to comment with humour.

“You always know how to bring the house down!” one user said.

“When hubby says he was tree-ting you, you should have chosen one of their other branches,” another said.

“Thank heavens you are OK! You have always been known to ‘make your presence felt’ so why should tonight have made any difference?” quipped one user.

Another follower said: “Seems you can still make the earth move for each other. Glad you are safe and I trust you had a wonderful evening.”

Strong winds and heavy rains in Western Cape

This week the SA Weather Service has issued warnings for heavy rainfall in Stellenbosch, Overstrand/Hermanus, Drakenstein/Paarl, Theewaterskloof and Grabouw.

The City of Cape Town warned of northwesterly winds exceeding 60km/h and put emergency teams on standby.