Kelly-Ann Kidgell, wife, mom of three, writer and PJ-pants extraordinaire, is well known on social media platforms and has appeared in various publications for her charity work in the KZN community.
She is one of the six talented, animal loving Under an African Sky (UAAS) ambassadors chosen to endorse the 2017 ‘Reflections of Africa’ calendar.
“Being an ambassador for Under an African Sky ties in beautifully with my life motto: ‘Be many to many’,’’ says Kelly who believes that life is so much more enriched if we spend a significant part of it helping others – be it humans or animals.
“Conservation of our beautiful wildlife starts with humans, and playing my small role in empowering such an incredible cause is a huge honour,” continues Kelly.
Under an African Sky (UAAS) is a voluntary organisation started by Compass Medical Waste Services eight years ago. Over the years the committee of 10 Compass staff volunteers has raised R1.3 million for animal welfare through its calendar campaign.
The 2017 calendar features South Africa’s majestic wildlife and their reflections in water.
Kelly grew up in Hillcrest and after school completed a Bachelor of Commerce through Unisa. She then spent most of her twenties in the UK where she married Warren, also from Hillcrest. They have three sons – Dylan, Addison and Ashton.
“I never once considered settling in the UK. For me, home is when my feet are firmly on African soil and I feel privileged to be South African,’’ says Kelly.
When the Kidgell’s relocated to South African in 2013, Kelly had some items to sell and started a Facebook group called Upper Highway Buy Swap and Sell. “It started as a forum to sell and swap to family and friends but it escalated so fast and now has nearly 60 000 members!’’ exclaims Kelly.
“It is hard work but being part of an incredible community, always willing to help with my charity work, is awe inspiring.”
She and a friend recently founded a charity called ‘Feed, Play, Love’ with the overriding aim being to help those less fortunate. When a need arises, the duo reach out to the community for help and co-ordinate the giving and receiving and share the rejoicing.
Kelly’s other claim to fame is her Facebook ‘journal’ entitled ‘Surviving the Runner Guy’. In March this year, on holiday in Cape Town for the Two Oceans Marathon, Kelly realised just how much of their lives were consumed by running.
“On my phone I started typing some of the truths regarding being married to a long distance runner and published it on fb.com/runnerwife, just to save it somewhere. It was shared hundreds of times and future posts got overwhelming responses.’’
In a nutshell, the posts are an overshare on life with a running addict and three very busy boys which, according to Kelly, is equal parts entertaining, frustrating, rewarding and chaotic.
Within months, Kelly and ‘Surviving the Runner Guy’ had thousands of fans which lead her to be invited to write for Runners World. Now there is a book in the pipeline.
“I’m currently corresponding with publishers regarding my book which should, hopefully, be ready towards the end of the year. It’s daunting but I’m putting insecurities and self-doubt aside and hoping for great success.
“I never ever dreamt of being a writer, but it’s therapeutic and soul-feeding and doing it amid the stress, laughs and tears of a young family, makes it that much more exciting.
“If I can convince people that being ordinary can be extraordinary, then I’m half way to achieving what I’ve set out to do. We place so much importance on what society sees as beautiful and perfect. I’m hoping to encourage readers to find the beauty we all possess within and realise that, in being who we are, we are in fact ‘many to many’.”
The ‘Reflections of Africa’ A2 wall calendar sells for R180, excluding postage, while the CD size desk calendar, comprising the same stunning photographs, sells for R60. To order your calendar please phone Dianne Reddy on 031 267 9700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.underanafricansky.co.za