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Andrew ‘Andy’ Frank – The Elvis of Laundry

Andrew Frank, or ‘Andy’ as his customers know him, has his roots in Cape Town where he chose to follow his father’s footsteps to become a policeman. This life was not an easy one; filled with love but also painful loss and, he craved simplicity. After a love affair that didn’t pan out as he had hoped, Andy moved to Mossel Bay nineteen years ago,  in search of the simple life.

‘I decided to stay alone. I had just my car and tools, the clothes I stood in. I asked the Lord for help. You can make your life change.’

Andy opened Surf Side Laundry and this place embodies the man. It is decorated so that it’s instantly possible to know Andy. With Elvis Presley covering the walls, and two guitars to the side, Andy laughs as he tells me he’s ‘learning from his idol’. He sings, sometimes at Patrick’s Bar and he’s teaching himself the guitar.  His motorbike is custom made in Cleveland. He might not be sure of which Cleveland it was made in, but he loves it regardless.

An unexpected ray of happiness burst into Andy’s life recently. Twenty-five years ago saw a different love of his leave, when she felt too young for marriage. Yet she took his daughter with her. After years of searching, Andy found his lost daughter again in 2017. ‘She’s married! The last time I saw her she was ten years old. Now she has two sons and is eight weeks pregnant with my third grandchild.’

Now they talk every day, determined to catch up on the years they’ve missed. Surf Side Laundry looks ordinary on the outside, yet I feel I have barely scratched the surface.

Jess Geiveson-Smth August 2017

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Humans of the Garden Route is a online blog about the wonderful characters of South Africa’s Garden Route. To get notifications of our new features, please subscribe in the adjacent form.

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