It’s a small world – and the strange story of a mystery woman and a picture travelling around the world proves just that.
Durban resident Milton Kahn, 66, who comes from a family of five brothers, said he and his younger brother, Neil, were walking on Clifton beach about 40 years ago when they were stopped by a photographer.
“He asked us if we could walk towards him so he could take a picture with the beach in the background for an advert… he told us to wait as he wanted to find a girl to put in the picture,” said Milton. “A group of about five girls were coming down the path… he asked if one would volunteer. They started to giggle and pushed one of the girls forward who was brave enough to be in the photo.
He took his picture, I didn’t know his name or who the girl was. Then six months later, I was on a train in Cape Town and when we stopped at one of the stations, there was the beach photo of us on a big billboard saying ‘Fly SAA’. I felt very chuffed,” said Milton.
He went to the SAA offices to get a copy of the picture and there it was as the front picture on the SAA calendar. Milton got a copy of the picture and put it up in his room. “But a few months later, I had a big fight with my brother and got annoyed at seeing his face on my wall. I did the dumbest thing, I cut out myself and threw the rest away,” said Milton.
Fast-track 18 years – Milton’s cousin, Frank Kahn, who, as the attorney general for South Africa, was in London when he ran into an old colleague from his days at Oxford University. Frank was invited to join the colleague and his wife for dinner that night at their home and was amazed to see the SAA photograph of his two cousins on the wall in the dining room.
“It turned out his colleague’s wife was the girl standing between us in the picture,” said Milton, but he never got her name from his cousin.
Another 20 years went by and Milton’s younger brother, Mickey, was in a coffee shop in Melbourne, Australia, when a woman came up to him and asked if he was Milton or Neil Kahn. “It was the girl from the picture. She had divorced and moved to Australia… she thought Mickey was either myself or Neil,” he said.
Mickey Kahn met up with the woman the following day to collect a copy of the picture. “He scanned it and sent it to Neil who is in Dubai, who then sent on a copy to me… But I still don’t know the name of the mystery woman,” said Milton.