‘She was a real ECD stalwart’

Elizabeth Jacobs

Former chairwoman of Mitchell’s Plain Educare Forum was a great mentor to all those who crossed paths with her, said her daughter Charlene Jacobs.

Elizabeth Jacobs, 74, affectionately known as Libby, was well-known in the early childhood development fraternity. Ms Jacobs passed away on Friday August 20 of natural causes.

Ms Jacobs was born on August 30, 1947 as Elizabeth Elaine De Vos. She was one of 12 children, eight daughters and four sons.

She married her husband Sydney, on August 15, 1996.

“He completed her and she loved him so much,” Charlene said.

She is survived by three daughters, Charlene, Pearl Jacobs, Geraldine Maggott and a granddaughter, Destiny Jacobs.

Ms Jacobs and her husband, Sydney opened their first creche 26 years ago, in Mandalay, with 35 children. Some time later, they bought a house together and moved to a bigger space, as the intake of children grew.

“She loved children so much,” said Charlene. “She spoke of them as other women speak about jewels. There was nothing more precious to her than a child and their education.”

In 2008 Ms Jacobs started the Mandalay Educare Forum which helped Early Childhood Development (ECD) sites to be registered. She resigned as chairperson in 2013 due to problems with her health.

“She had many operations but never once sat still to recover properly,” said Charlene.

In October 2019 things took a turn for the worse, but her parents “stood side by side and they fought the storms of life together”, Charlene said.

In 2020, Charlene took over the management of the creche from her mother but Ms Jacobs stood behind her and watched that nothing went wrong.

“She was such an example growing up. Following her was not hard.”

In July 2021, Ms Jacobs became very sick, and said to her husband that she could feel her heart was “not beating properly”.

“For two weeks she was in and out of doctors’ rooms with me and they could not figure out what was wrong,” she said.

Gail Brink, colleague and member of Mandalay Educare forum, said it was a sad moment.

“I never thought our last chat would be the last,” said Ms Brink.

Ms Brink met Ms Jacobs in 1996 when she started working in the ECD field. Their friendship grew over the years but when her son Henoc was born in 2015 an extra special bond formed. She became Ma Lizzy to Henoc.

Ms Jacobs was a mentor, a friend, a mother to many, she said.

“She guided us; she always had a listening ear, always there to assist especially with the registration of our ECDs. She would encourage us to never give up. At our last Mandalay ECD Forum meeting, she offered to put a package together with relevant documents we needed, always ready and prepared. We have lost someone but heaven gained an angel. Fly high my friend. You will be missed always in our hearts,” said Ms Brink.

Valda Philips, chairwoman of Mitchell’s Plain Educare Forum said they are thankful to God for giving them the privilege of having Ms Jacobs as a former chairwoman of Mitchell’s Plain Educare Forum.

She was a great mentor. “We are more than blessed, honoured and humbled to have her be a part of our lives. Elizabeth Jacobs’ dedication towards the ECD field will forever be etched in our hearts. She always went the extra mile for us, said Ms Philips.

She was disciplined, kind, loving, down to earth and treated everybody equally, no matter who you were. She was a real ECD stalwart.

“Elizabeth, you will forever be remembered in our hearts and we will strive to uphold your legacy. Till we meet again one sweet day. Fly high with the angels, our darling sister,” said Ms Philips.