Words: Betsie Loock-Van der Merwe | Images: Supplied & Rene Walker
She not only mesmerises audiences with her sexy, sultry repertoire of old and contemporary jazz, swing, blues and soul, but Pretoria’s dazzling Liezel Steyn will also rock your socks off. This versatile songstress, who is also a presenter, MC, event host and actress, was born and raised in the quiet, homey suburb of Villieria in Pretoria’s Moot region.
“I literally spent my life down one street, in the same house,” says Liezel. She spent her primary school years at Laerskool Pierneef, and during her high school days, she attended Hoërskool Verwoerd, also located in the Moot area.
Home sweet home
After living elsewhere for a number of years, Liezel decided to return “home” to the neighbourhood and house she loves so much. Liezel has a busy life and she finds the tranquil neighbourhood especially precious. “Being an artist means life is always unpredictable. I can’t really plan my days. It changes on a daily, and sometimes even on an hourly basis if an event or a gig pops up. I also do my own marketing and this can be quite time-consuming. I’m currently also studying to be a hypnotherapist.”
Liezel feels the area allows her to work without any distractions. “I don’t feel like I need to get out or away from my area as it’s peaceful enough here – whether I want to relax or need to focus and study.”
The community of Villieria contributes to this serenity. “The people are a bit older and many have lived in their homes for a very long time. Although they are a friendly bunch, they mostly keep to themselves and they don’t make a lot of noise,” says Liezel.
The suburb is well-established with beautiful jacaranda tree-lined streets. “The yards are big and spacious. The area predominantly comprises houses – there are very few complexes in the area – and I think it is still a lot safer than many other areas in Pretoria.”
Even though the neighbourhood is not part of the big city hustle and bustle, there are more than su¬fficient shopping centres, schools, churches, medical facilities and places of art, culture and entertainment.
“When I was little, there was basically only one small shopping centre. During the years growing up, a few other small shopping complexes popped up and now they are busy building another one in Queenswood opposite Queens Corner, about 3km from where we live, that will have a Woolworths, Clicks, Planet Fitness, Checkers and other shops.”
Gems in the neighbourhood
“The Spar at Queens Corner is my go-to for all groceries and they have a lovely baking and food section,” says Liezel. For those who like antiques and the likes thereof, she recommends the antique shops in the area.
“Pierneef Theatre is just down the road at the high school and they offer great entertainment for theatre lovers. There are quite a few old houses that have been transformed into restaurants such as Toni’s which makes delicious and very unique pizzas and Die Sinkhuis which offers great value boerekos-style food in very decent portions.”
Because she works, studies and also travels a lot, Liezel loves to spend the little downtime she has available at home. “My favourite spots at home are my room where I work, my room where I sleep, relax and watch television, and the kitchen, as that is where we as a family tend to hang out and catch up.”
To her, family and relationships are what make a house a home. “Love is the root of warmth and I think that’s an essential component to a home. Other than that, being in a space where you feel safe and comfortable to ‘do’ and ‘be’ whatever you want, also makes it a home.”
“I grew up here, so Villieria is home to me. Other than that, I have stayed in Joburg for about six years of my life and moving back to the area I call home was awesome. There’s just a wonderful peacefulness in Villieria.”
- Jakaranda Shopping Centre
- Waverley Plaza
- Rietfontein Pavilion
- Queens Corner Shopping Centre
- Gezina Galleries
- Oppiplaas Restaurant: local food and beer in a farm-like setting
- Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Co: wood-fired pizza and classic pasta dishes
- Grounded at Echo: work-away-from-work space in a coffee shop
- Burger Bistro Pierneef: delicious designer burgers
- La Pentola Pretoria: international fusion cuisine
- Die Sinkhuis: boerekos-style food
- Franco’s House of Pizza: great value for money
- Browse around in Villieria’s many interesting antique shops, such as Bell Bottoms, Die Sinkhuis, LFR Antiques and Retro Rabbit
- Relax at one of the local pubs like Memory’s Pub & Grill, Picasso’s Pub & Pizzeria, Route 33 Pub & Grill and Celebs
- Meet new people and learn Zulu at Grounded at Echo’s Zulu Saturdays