Sunday Times

Ella Buter Owner of Su­perella

- Entertainment

There’s DNA in the photo al­bum that Ella Buter has on her lap. It’s her par­ents’ wed­ding al­bum. It’s singed at the edges and the pho­tos’ pro­tec­tive plas­tic sheets have cracked and dis­in­te­grated. “It’s about the only thing that they man­aged to grab from our house in Welkom when it burnt down the year I was in ma­tric,” says Ella.

Those black-and-white im­ages of Jan and Jane Buter are a story from be­fore she was. Her par­ents are cap­tured in their 20s, young, united, cel­e­brated. The pho­tos hold a kind of ge­netic en­cryp­tion, clues to who Ella is to­day.

“I be­lieve that even your cre­ativ­ity comes from your DNA,” says Ella as she points out the pho­tos where Afrikaans women, as part of the wed­ding party, are dressed in tra­di­tional cos­tumes and bon­nets for volk­spele (folk dances) — the cul­tural dances and games she had to learn as a child, as her­itage with no ne­go­ti­a­tion.

“I will never place these pho­tos into a new al­bum. Like this it re­minds me of what we lost in the fire: ev­ery­thing,” she says. It’s also ex­actly how she re­ceived it when her par­ents died shortly af­ter each other in the 2000s.

“I think my mother died from heartache with­out my father,” she says, clos­ing the padded al­bum cover. It holds their love story, cap­tured in the mo­ment sil­ver halides on pho­to­graphic film met light.

‘THE AL­BUM RE­MINDS ME OF WHAT WE LOST IN THE FIRE: EV­ERY­THING’ Ella Buter

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