Around the year 1933, my great grandparents made the “Groot Trek” from a small town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, in search of greener pastures. Great grandfather was a yellow boned Tswana, and great grandmother a Cape coloured. Their love was forbidden by the Apartheid regime, so they decided to leave their home and all they knew, with the hope that they would be able to find a place where they could be free to love, grew old together and especially, to raise a family together.
They journeyed for weeks and finally settled in the Namibian town of Rehoboth. For over twelve years, my great grandfather worked hard as foreman on a farm. They were happy, had managed to acquire many cattle and other farm animals, and their family grew. For a black man in those years, you could say, my great grandfather was well off. Unfortunately, the farm owner grew jealous of my great grandfathers increasing wealth and chased him off the farm refusing for them to take any of their livestock with them.
Having suffered such great defeat, great grandfather decided with a heavy heart, to rather go back to his country of birth. He worked odd jobs in every little town as they journeyed down south from Rehoboth. The last little town they got to just before they would be back in South Africa was the dusty southern town of Karasburg. Here great grandfather helped built the Roman Catholic Church which still stands today, along with some of the first stone houses in the town. These are just remnants and fragments of an era long passed but the realization that this great man contributed to the towns history, makes me proud.
Sadly, some time after he completed his work in Karasburg my great grandfather died. Great grandmother made the choice to remain resident in Karasburg with her children and grandchildren, and to one day be laid to rest next to her late husband in the cemetary of Karasburg’s township of Westerkim
Karasburg is where the Jacobs’ have left their footprints and still live today. We are a family so diverse and mixed, not unlike many other Namibian families. I have Ovambo, Angolan and South African blood running through my veins and they all contribute equally to the concoction that make up the person that is Joline
Jacobs. A proud black Namibian woman who know and understands the rich history of her ancestors. I have cousins who are from Herero, Ovambo and Nama/Damara descent and we often discuss our family ties, where we come from. I am so proud of my rich ancestral history, the essence of what makes me a Namibian.
Our late national Hero Dr. Andimda Toivo ya Toivo once said-“we are Africans first then Namibians”. In essence we are all products of people who came from different parts of Africa and or the world, at large. And so we the many faces of Namibia- is one that tells a story of a rainbow nation, a people of different skin colors, beliefs and cultures yet we are all one people. It is in learning of our ancestral histories and finding how similar our stories are that we realize we are not so different after all.
By Joline Jacobs