ANC veteran, well known community leader, tourist activist and former chairperson of the Older Persons forum, Don Jacobs, passed away on March 19 at the age of 82 years.
ANC VETERAN, well known community leader, tourist activist and former chairperson of the Older Persons forum, Don Jacobs, passed away on March 19 at the age of 82 years.
His daughter, Carmen Gopane, said he was involved in the tourism sector for more than 42 years.
She stated that he received numerous awards, including the national achievement award for arranging large groups from local communities, religious groups and educators and national rugby to tour overseas countries including America, Israel, the United Kingdom and Europe.
“Due to Jacobs’ strong political convictions particularly against South Africa’s apartheid laws, he took a stance against marketing tourism in an ‘apartheid’ South Africa. However, as he was passionate about tourism, he opted to focus on the international tourism scene. He also served on the board of the Northern Cape Tourism Authority where he represented the disadvantaged business fraternity.”
She stated that Jacobs was committed to marketing the Northern Cape as a tourism destination.
“He was a true brand ambassador of the Northern Cape and promoted the hidden gems of the province. He played a large part in the transformation and development of the tourism industry.”
She added that her father assisted ANC stalwart Mittah Seperere, who was returning from exile in Madagascar, to arrange the ANC Women’s League conference in Kimberley in 1991, for the first time in 31 years since the organisation was unbanned in 1960.
“The conference was a huge success with 1,500 delegates attending from all over South Africa, Europe and the Soviet Union.”
Gopane added that as a young child, Jacobs was traumatised at the cruelty of witnessing the shooting and political killings during the 1952 Mayibuye uprisings.
“This cruelty of witnessing dead bodies laying all over the place haunted him for the rest of his life. As a youngster he joined the defiance campaign with church wardens, Sesedi and Sam Phakedi with his son Tumi, and showed solidarity with them at the railway stations and post offices that were divided along racial lines.
“During this campaign he became good friends with Dr Arthur Letele.”
She said Jacobs attended St. Francis Xavier School where his parents assisted the Letele family to enrol their son Meso in a the so- called ‘’coloured’ school.
“He was the first ‘black’ student at the school. We spent many weekends with the Letele family and this was around the time when he joined the ANC.”
Gopane added that her father was also actively involved at St Cyprian’s Anglican Church.