LISTEN: How a determined mother got her photo with President Ramaphosa

Mareldia Jacobs, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Faiez Jacobs. Picture: Supplied

Mareldia Jacobs, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Faiez Jacobs. Picture: Supplied

Published May 9, 2021


Cape Town - Protocol and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s heavy security detail could not stand in the way of a mother’s determination to get her photo taken with the president.

Mareldia Jacobs was one of the special guests invited on Thursday evening to an iftar or breaking of the fast with the president at Islamia College in Lansdowne.

The event was hosted by her son, the Greater Athlone Parliamentary Constituency Office MP Faiez Jacobs and the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC).

Ramaphosa was the honoured guest, among several other dignitaries and religious leaders including Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, retired Western Cape Judge Siraj Desai, Mandla Mandela, former Minister Trevor Manuel and ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

After enjoying the meal and addressing those gathered, the president was about to leave, when Mrs Jacobs grabbed her chance.

LISTEN: Mrs Jacobs explains what happened in a voice note to her family and shared with IOL.

She said: I told Faiez I am getting up and going to him. The men were standing around him as he was ready to leave. Faiez tried to talk me out of it, but I wanted to stand closer to him and I crept closer and closer and then I was next to him and I said: ’Hi Mr President, would you like to take a photo with me? He looked at me and said: ’Yes, OK.’ I then told him I am Faiez’s mother. And he said: ’Oh, are you Faiez’s mother, I will take a photo with you.’

Mrs Jacobs continues: We then looked to see which camera can take photo. There was a tall photographer there with a big camera. I asked the president: ’Who is going to take the photo of us.’ He replied: 'No, that guy is going to take the photo. I said: ’Ok, thank you Mr President. Everything of the best. Bye.’ You guys know your mom is not afraid of anything. I came late (when he was at iftar) two years ago, and I thought this time I am not going to miss out.

Mrs Jacobs plans to add her photo to a special album just like the one she made for the photos of Faiez and former president Nelson Mandela.

“It’s nice, it’s very nice. It’s history. One day when I die then my children can say: ’There’s ouma.’’”

* Happy Mother’s Day! We would love to hear a special story about your mother. Email us at [email protected].

** Additional reporting from Shakirah Thebus of the Cape Argus.

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Cyril Ramaphosa