Young lad defies the odds to succeed

Morne Jacobs, 22.

A young man from Tafelsig wants to help be the change in men’s lives from Mitchell’s Plain.

Morné Jacobs started his own programme called The Men’s Guide to inspire, encourage and motivate men in his community.

Morné grew up in Tafelsig and attended school at Wavecrest Primary School in Rocklands and Littlewood Primary School in Eastridge and Glendale High School, also in Rocklands.

His love for acting started at school when he participated in school plays at Wavecrest Primary, playing a tree, among others. “Playing a tree was the most humbling experience. I did not say anything in the play, I just blew from side to side but I had fun.”

His father left them when he was 4 years old and Morné has not seen him since. He moved around with his mom for a while until he moved in with his grandmother.

His grandmother, Janet Jacobs, passed away in 2010, the year he was in Grade 9. Morné dropped out of school as he could not take the pain of losing his grandmother who raised him. He got involved with bad friends who smoked dagga and cigarettes at school.

His family encouraged him to go back to school. He then went back to school at Glendale High, repeating Grade 9 and finished his schooling there.

Former principal at Glendale High School, Achmat Chothia and his then class teacher, Ricardo Wessie, who was like his second dad, spoke to him and encouraged him not to do drugs and not to go down the wrong path, he said. “Since that day, my life changed.”

Brown Paper Studios, a non-profit organisation teaching acting, modelling, singing, rap, MC, voice over, photography, directing, producing and script writing skills, had an after school programme at Glendale High where youth gathered weekly,focusing on arts and culture. They would put brown paper sheets on the wall for pupils to write on and use it as a cultural engagement, creativity and understanding among youth who are at risk.

Morné did modelling and acting classes at Brown Paper Studios. At the end of the year they would receive a certificate of completion and participation in all activities attended.

Morné is currently at home, however, he receives an income from clients or events that he is booked for as an MC. He has completed an office management and technology course. He has also completed courses with RLabs Academy, a non-profit community learning franchise which offers innovative skills training in the field of technology.

“I met Xavier Coetzee, 26, who grew up in Rocklands. He was an alumni of Glendale High School and introduced new elements at Brown Paper Studios. He introduced me to the programme. He moulded pupils into what they set themselves out to be. We just clicked because we had the same story, grew up the same way. He was like a brother to me, he helped me and was a support structure.”

After matric Morné’ did not have enough funds to study further. He had his heart set on modelling and acting but did not know how he would achieve this.

“I want to follow my dreams, I want to show people that anything is possible and create opportunities for people in my community. I MC, do motivational speaking, act and model. Everything I do would mean nothing if I cannot help someone else to reach their dreams too,” he said.

His programme, The Men’s Guide, started in April. The programme focuses on three aspects, namely etiquette, monogamy and chivalry. “As a man I believe we need to educate young men in the community on things that they are not familiar with, not having been taught the aspects that I’ve mentioned.”

Morné and his friend, Valentino Fredericks, 25, from Tafelsig, have activities for males of any age group.

“I think the programme is something great which really helps these boys, I feel like there should be more people out there helping where they can. Mo is really doing something,” said Valentino.

Morné also makes himself available to help with homework or any support young men need. “I just wish somebody could have done what I’m doing and been there for me when I was young,” he said.

His mother, Melanie Cupido said she is proud of Morné. “He should keep doing what he is doing. I can see that he has a big heart for others and wanting them to prosper. Staying focus is key.”

Zidane Floors, 14, from Tafelsig, who is part of the program said: “The program was fun and educational. I had fun playing soccer, learning about team work, how to respect one another and how to be a gentlemen. I can’t wait for the next one.”

If you wish to help Morné with his initiative, email him at or contact him via Facebook at King Mo SA.