Who We Are
So just who is "Where It All Began" ?
We are Philip Kane-Rendel and Frances Glyn-Owen – two friends who met on a beach in Salcombe, UK at the tender ages of 19 and 17 respectively. Our paths went in completely different directions after that but reconverged totally by chance in Cape Town back in 2008 when Phil and his late wife Liz had bought Parker Cottage, the guesthouse they ran until 2017.
Liz and Phil came to live permanently in South Africa in 2000, originally to work in education. Around 2006, they moved to Cape Town and bought a guesthouse, Parker Cottage, and slowly built it up. Over eight years, they took it from no. 148 on TripAdvisor to no. 1, an award which they won three years in a row, as well as being awarded the coveted Fair Trade in Tourism accredited status for their work in socially and environmentally responsible tourism. With the guesthouse at the top of its game, they decided to diversify and started Where It All Began, a travel consultancy focused on independent and ethical travel in South Africa.
Frances and her husband Justin met whilst working on the superyachts in the Caribbean in 2004 – returning to Justin’s place of birth, Cape Town, they started a family here and Justin returned to the other love of his life, fishing, which he still does to this day. Frances has worked in marketing in the UK, project management in South Africa and travelled so extensively that it was just a natural fit to combine her talents in travel and tourism. Frances is an associate with Where It All Began and is based in Cape Town.
Kim discovered her passion for South Africa in 2009 when she came to Cape Town to work with Conservation International for the (American) summer. By sheer chance, she stayed at Parker Cottage and struck up a friendship with Phil and Liz. Since then, Kim has traveled all over the country, including a considerable time on safari and in the bush of Eastern Cape and Limpopo. She has worked in premium and ultra-luxury travel in the U.S., and cares very much about the animals, environment and people of beautiful South Africa. Kim is an Associate with Where It All Began, based in Seattle, Washington.
Farewell to Liz
Born on the Gorbals Estate in Glasgow in 1953, but shortly afterwards moving to Greater Manchester, Liz loved primary school and having shown a precocious talent, got into Bury Convent Grammar School. She was very unhappy and left it and home aged 16.
She worked in a variety of jobs including a munitions factory in North Wales before returning home to her parents’ home and taking her O and A levels in 1975 and 1977 at Rochdale College. She went on to study nursing in Manchester, where she met her first husband Mihad Annan. She gave up nursing and became a TEFL teacher, moving with Mihad to Beirut. Liz taught English in several schools in Beirut during the height of the tensions in that city and was at one point airlifted from the roof of the British Embassy with her daughter Serine in a military helicopter.
A period living and working as a teacher in Cyprus followed but the tensions of the war in Lebanon eventually ended the marriage to Mihad – Liz met her second husband Yezid Sayigh in Beirut and together they moved to St. Margaret’s Road and later Southmoor Road in Oxford, accompanied by Liz’s much adored VW Beetle from Cyprus. Liz initially worked at The Lake School and studied for a Masters at Reading University and then later worked at Oxford Brookes. Here she taught graduate English second language students and developed and managed the CELTA and DELTA courses taught at Brookes. It was on one of these CELTA courses that she met Phil in December 1999. Phil and Liz then worked together on the MA in ELT that she was developing.
Liz was then offered a job working in academic development at Rhodes University, South Africa, which she accepted in 2000 and Liz and Phil then moved there in 2001. Liz developed courses for senior academics across South Africa in assessment and curriculum development – from this work, she started a PhD using LCT to describe the knowledge shift occurring in South African universities at the time.
Both Phil and Liz left academia in 2007 and bought a run-down guesthouse, Parker Cottage, in Cape Town which they turned into a successful business before selling in 2017 and returning to Southmoor Road. Sadly Liz received a cancer diagnosis late in 2019 and passed away peacefully in her sleep earlier this year.
Liz had a particular passion for her Dutch warmblood horse Pelé, her numerous dogs (most particularly Angus) and dance: proficient in several dances, her favourite was probably flamenco but she most enjoyed dancing Lindy Hop with Phil. Liz had a vast and eclectic music collection and was never without music.
Liz is survived by her husband, Phil, son Yusif and daughter Serine as well as her parents Nan and Frank.