By Adele Da Graca
Both Inge and I (Inge, my first born, mother of two and my Eden Days Body business partner) were borne in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route. We come from a long line of Mossel Bay / Hartenbos descendants. If you are not familiar with the area, Hartenbos is joined by the hip to Mossel Bay. You can stand on either side of the bay and gaze at the neighbouring town.
Dutch East India Company
Hartenbos was our forefather Esaias Meyer’s farm, a reward for helping shipwrecked sailors in the 18th century. The story goes that a ship that belonged to the Dutch East India Company (VOC), heavy with goods bound for Batavia, ran into serious problems. Oupa Meyer not only saved the remaining distraught sailors but brought the goods safe to shore. Then he made the 400km journey by horse to Cape Town to inform the VOC of the 51 sailors who were lost – a journey which took him 7 days through rivers and mountains during the cold winter months.
I love to read the history of the people who made it possible for us to be here today. Esaias Meyer was the child of immigrant parents. They did not have WhatsApp calls when the longing got too much, but they were strong and brave.
Life in the United Kingdom
As Southern African borne women living in a now not so foreign country, 16 years in the UK has shaped us. But, no matter how European we have become with our yearly exotic destination holidays; our roots are as African as can be.
We still scroll Facebook endlessly to find recommendations for the best biltong merchant on this side of the world, speak to random strangers in the supermarket when you detect THAT accent. But off course, it is so much deeper than that. Rest assured, we are not shallow people.
Immigrating has opened new opportunities for us, and it changed the way we look at life. But it has not denied us our roots, it has flourished because of it.