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Behind the Lights – Thank you, Marais Family

By Mariska Wiese –

Last night I went for a drive through town to go and show the Christmas lights to my daughter.  There were several houses that stood out, decorated with lights, but there’s this one house…

Every local resident that has spent a Christmas in Kimberley, knows about this house in 10 Jan Hofmeyer Street, Hadison Park.

When I was only a little girl, my dad used to put everyone on the back of the bakkie, and drive through town, showing us all the lights hanging in the CBD on the lamp poles.  Oh what fun this was!  Unfortunately, I can’t say that there’s much of a display for the last couple of years, resulting in a trend starting where local residents hang their own lights for the public to view.

Charlene Marais, and her husband Johan Marais, owners of One Price Store in the CBD, mostly known to Kimberley residents as “The Five Rand Shop”, has been decorating their home with the most extravagant displays of Christmas lights and features, for the last 10 years, creating a magical Christmas display for the public to view.  They have opened their home to the public to walk through their garden and look at all the different Christmas displays.  This year they even had a Santa Claus, handing out sweets to all the little children.

Marais Family Christmas Lights in KimberleySo, where did all of this start?

10 Years ago Charlene visited her sister over Christmas, and her house was decorated with the most beautiful lights.  Charlene fell in love.  She asked Johan, her husband, if they can decorate their home with Christmas lights, and 10 years later they still do it.  Over the years, people started stopping and getting out of their cars to show the lights to their children and Charlene decided to open her gates to the public.  “So many bad things happen to us during the year, so people tend to focus and remember all the bad things.  Christmas is a time where we should forget the negative, and focus on the good in life.  There are so many beautiful things that we can be grateful for.”  And what better way than to have thousands of little sparkly lights all around you, seeing families come together to see this amazing display.  “Adults become children again, and the children enjoy every moment of it”, says Charlene.  This year they even had a Santa Claus, handing out sweets to all the little children.

“People started to come to us, asking if they can donate any money to say thank you for the display”.  Charlene didn’t want to take any money from the public for themselves, as she was doing this out of the good of her heart.  They then decided if people want to contribute, they could donate money, and Charlene gives it to a specific charity or institute every year.  This year they’re donating all the money to Jannie Brink, a special needs school in Kimberley.  Previous years, they’ve donated to other institutions such as Kestel Kinderhuis, Yonder, Stillerwee and Platfontein Kleuterskool.

Charlene and Johan started their business, One Price Store, almost 18years ago, and they are still going strong. Back then everything was R5 per item.  For example, you’d buy 8packets of salt for R5, or Sta-Soft for R5. (Crazy right!!!).  That’s where people got the connotation with “The Five Rand Shop”.  With the economy changing so drastically, obviously prices have gone up, but people still talk about “The Five Rand Shop”.  One Price Store is a general store where you can find anything you’re looking for, at a very cheap price.  Charlene and Johan are very active in their business, and still believe in good service, and the best prices.

They also have a shop in the Diamond Pavilion Mall every year from the 15th of November to 24 December, where you can choose from a very big variety and buy Christmas displays.

Charlene, Johan and Wentzel  Marais - Christmas Lights in KimberleyAs a local resident, and a mother I would like to thank the Marais family for giving us the opportunity to share the Christmas spirit with our families and friends.  Charlene and Johan, their daughter Nedine Marais (who helps out at the shop in the Diamond Pavillion Mall) and their son Wentzel Marais (who plays Santa Claus every year)…THANK YOU!! And I think I can say with surety from all the local Kimberley residents that we appreciate all of your effort, time and money spent on the displays.

You bring the fun back in Christmas and bring families together for a fun outing, and it doesn’t even cost a cent.  The little happy faces running around in your garden every evening is thanks to you and your hard work, good heart, and Christmas spirit.   You warm the hearts of so many people during the festive season.

Merry X-Mas everybody!!

Mariska Wiese

Message from the Marais Family

“Our gates are open every night from 19:30, to +/- 21:00 until the 26th of December for the public to come and walk through.  Feel free to make a donation to Jannie Brink, so we can share the goodness of what Christmas is all about:  Christ our Saviour, family, fun, good times, laughter, lights, happiness and everything good.”


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