My South African Life #CapeTown2014 by Dominique Jacobs

Disclaimer: Hi everyone, it’s your girl Dominique in Cape Town, South Africa! I first of all need to apologise for this huge delay on my blog posts, as it has been very, very challenging getting a WiFi signal, and when I do and start posting my blog …the internet crashes! This has been happening for the past 6 weeks that I have been here, and all anybody ever tells me is: “well, this is Africa” and then they shrug and walk away…lol…I guess that says it all. Thank you for your patience as I endeavor to bring you my story from the southern-most country in Africa.


Prelude:”Going Home”
It all begins at Toronto Pearson airport on December 27th, 2013… true!…It began months, actually, years before. I have been missing…aching to get back to my roots, my family, my ‘Motherland’, it is as if something is missing in my soul and has been missing for far, far too long.
OK, so maybe I should start at the beginning; I was born in Cape Town, South Africa to Neville and Elvira Jacobs. Both of my parents were born and raised in Cape Town, and when I was 3 years old, my little sister Claire was born. We had a wonderful young life, all of our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents surrounding us with love and support during these early years in South Africa. We had a community of people that we could count on and: They are family. We had a beautiful life, I remember gardens with gardeners, and we had a big house with maids and a cook. I would chat with them all as a child; that’s how I became fluent in Afrikaans one of the 9 national languages and spoken (either as the first or second language) by my people the ‘Cape Coloured’, or mixed race people of the Western Cape(who are all bi-lingual –may I add).

Now to make a long story short, when I was 5 years old, (my sister was 2years) my parents decided that we would leave the country for the US; this decision was made due to two important reasons #1: the fact that at that time my father was a member of the ANC (African National Congress), and in those years of apartheid the ANC was considered to be a terrorist organization. He faced jail time, police brutality and torture, while fighting for democracy in a minority government… yeah, I know guys, it’s kinda heavy… so let’s move on to #2,this reason is right up our alley: Education. My dad wanted to complete his PHD studies, which he had started in the early 70’s in St. Louis, Missouri USA. So we made the move…ended up here in Canada, and years later, in 1995 my mother passed away from cancer, and we came home to bury her…as per her last wishes… and that was the last time I was in Cape Town, South Africa. That was 18 years ago.

You need to know my back ground to understand the depths to my story…I understand this is not the easiest read, but it is the truth; and also the reason why I so desperately needed to come back to Cape Town, South Africa. So I applied to GEO for the SA internship, specifically for Cape Town, and I am unbelievably grateful to have landed this opportunity, and I cannot wait to reconnect with my family! It’s been 18 years since I’ve seen my family, new members have been born and raised, the babies from last time are all young adults now, and my crew (the cousins closest to me) have all since been married and have kids of their own. It’s been 18 years since I’ve laid eyes on my mother’s grave and spoken to anyone in her family. It’s been 18 years afterall, since I’ve been home.

This picture is of me and my dad in Wynberg Park, before we left Cape Town, South Africa. I was a cute baby, eh?
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This trip is a really big deal for me…I don’t know if this post even expresses the depth of my emotion being able to “go home” after so long. So I must give a HUGE thank you to Pearl, Yana the GEO department; and Centennial College for affording me this
incredible opportunity! Thank you ALL so very much, this means the world to me.

As I am getting ready to depart, I am thinking about my goals (as my motivations are quite clear if you read the above); I would hope to achieve a lasting professional relationship with the organization I will be placed in (as I hope to return to SA in 2-3 years as opposed to the dreadful long years that is has been), a glowing letter of reference due to work well done at my International placement that will propel me into a new level of my career, and perhaps a job offer in the future? My expectations are massive!
But mostly, I just can’t wait to see and embrace all of my family, watch the two oceans (Indian and Atlantic) crash into each other again, and smell that salty, fresh sea air. I can’t wait to feel the sand between my toes and the ocean waves washing away the years of longing. I am not afraid. I am ready.
AND; So here we are now…on Saturday, Dec 27th, my sister and I, at Toronto Pearson International, super excited and on our way to board the plane for the first leg of our long, long journey, we start with an 8 hour flight…#AmsterdamBound!
we out! Pearson

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