The UK had their Calendar Girls, and now South Africa has their Calendar Chars.
Instead of breaking down in tears when they heard they were being retrenched, these housekeepers decided to look at the brighter side of life — by bringing out their own sexy calendar.
The Four Township Sistas — as they call themselves — created The Calendar Chars as a source of income, and to give back to their community.
The foursome work at a Green Point guesthouse which is set to close its doors in the next few months.
Single moms Patricia Dyantyi, 39, Brenda Makitle, 53, Mildred Botha, 46 and Irene Botha, 46, were given the bad news in December.
Worried about their future, the Khayelitsha ladies thought of ways to make more money.
It was after Irene and Brenda saw the movie Calendar Girls, that the Calendar Chars was born.
The 2003 British comedy starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters is based on the true story of a group of women who produce a nude almanac to raise money for Leukemia research.
The ladies pose nude while doing everyday granny activities like baking and knitting.
Brenda, a mom of four and grandmother herself, says after working at the guesthouse for 11 years, she would have no other income when it closes this year.
“When we heard about the retrenchment, I was worried,” she says.
“There is no other income so we came up with the idea.”
Brenda, who is Miss February and December, says she wasn’t nervous going kaal for the shoot.
“I never did anything like this before but I was comfortable, I was free,” she smiles.
“We (photographed) each other when we did the nudes,” she adds.
With no modelling experience and the assistance of guesthouse manager Patrick Lambert, a R250 mik en druk camera and props from the guest house, it was lights, camera, action for the girls.
The fun calendar sees the ladies posing in traditional clothes, overalls and even showing some skin in the shower and bedroom, all in the name of fun.
Patricia, Miss July, says: “We took the pictures outside in the mornings before we start work. Some of the shoots depended on the weather, but we finished it in a week.”
With the help of Photoshop, the domestic workers’ pictures are superimposed on the beach, on Table Mountain, in the Winelands, and even playing in traffic.
The calendar is on sale for R150 and can be ordered through their website www.4townshipsistas.co.za or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ten percent of proceeds will be donated to the Beautiful Gates Organisation for vulnerable children in Philippi East.