Is there anyone still out there?

It has been five years since my last post. Five years!

Looking back on the first couple of videos and blog posts for The Afrikaans Tutor, I get a big lump in my throat… Little did I know that shortly after I made these videos and started this project, our entire life would be turned upside down. I look at the young girl in the videos and think: If you only knew.

Shortly after these videos my husband was diagnosed with stage 3B cancer and Crohn’s Disease. It was totally unexpected and we were totally shocked. He was only 29 years old at the time. It came out of nowhere, we didn’t even really know what Crohn’s Disease was! So instead of making YouTube videos, writing the book I dreamed about and developing Afrikaans material, I supported my husband who had to have a major operation and six months’ chemotherapy. It was the biggest challenge I’ve faced in my entire life. As if all of this wasn’t terrible enough, we were totally shocked to find out that all of his treatments could affect his fertility. It felt like so many dreams were shattered. All at once.

Fast forward five years and today Francois is 100% healthy. He is going for his fifth year of remission and everything is going really well with us and with his health. In times of trouble, we run towards each other instead of away… but it was still a lot to handle for two twenty-somethings. After all the treatments his tests came back quite good, but in spite of this, we have been struggling with infertility for the past four years. It has been heartbreaking, trying, frustrating and all consuming. But, we’ve also learned so much and we know we will never be the same again. We started our own YouTube channel (The Upside) where we document our life, our adventures and our infertility journey. I’ve gotten a lot better at making and editing videos, if I do say so myself 🙂

I’m sorry I just disappeared. Believe me, it wasn’t by choice. I’ve often thought about this little project that I started, but I never had the energy to take it up again. Here I am, July 2018, thinking about creating some language acquisition material for Afrikaans yet again. This time, I’m not going to give myself a deadline and be so strict with myself, but I am still here and I want to do something. I hope that I will be able to.

It might not be the project I hoped for, BUT we did vlog our holiday in Germany in Afrikaans with the idea of 1) creating our own memories, but 2) creating some Afrikaans material for YouTube. Since 2014, Francois learned German and is almost fluent and we are now learning French together (I have a slight head start since I studied it for three years way back when at university). I know how much it helps to watch vlogs when learning a new language. Just hearing people speak as they normally would, helps me a lot. So I hope our vlogs help.

I don’t even know if any of you are still out there and if you will even get the message, but I am still here. And luckily, so is my husband 🙂

If you want to watch our Afrikaans vlogs in the meantime, here is the link to our Afrikaans playlist:

Please leave a comment if you read this and if you are learning Afrikaans – I would love to hear from you!

Praat Saam

Is it not true that each person is a world?

Today I had the opportunity to speak on Praat Saam on RSG (Radio Sonder Grense) about the role I think language plays when we want to embrace and celebrate diversity. As I am doing research for my project and recording episodes for my Afrikaans YouTube channel, I am just reminded once again that when you learn a new language, you gain insight into a world and every person who speaks that language, represents a part of that world. I often have a little bit of time with my students before the class starts and I love it to just ask them about their home language. Although I can’t understand or speak it, it is so enriching when they tell me about words that don’t exist in English or when their eyes light up because an idiom in Afrikaans reminds them of one in their own language.

What am I actually doing? I am not only running a business, sharing knowledge or living my passion. This is about people. It is about dwelling in that magical space where in our differences, we realise that we are all the same. Language has power and can represent access, growth and change. In this morning’s discussion on the radio, they spoke about the difference between ‘tolerating’ each other’s differences and ’embracing’ them. An embrace is in essence a hug and you can never give a hug without receiving one, so I challenge you today to get to know someone of a different race or cultural background and to learn something from them.

In the meantime I am busy recording the rest of Season 1 of The Afrikaans Tutor. Thank you to everyone who is contributing – it’s great! Be on the lookout for more episodes.

Klaar gepraat. 

Episode 1 now live!

I have decided to start off with a ‘bang’ and dedicated Season One of The Afrikaans Tutor to the kind of things you will find in the product that I am creating – so get excited! In the first episode I look at the word “lekker” and two uses you might not know of. This first season is aimed at those of you who already know a little bit of Afrikaans, but anyone can benefit from them really.

Happy tubing!

Official YouTube Channel Launch


Please subscribe to The Afrikaans Tutor’s official YouTube channel and be sure to look out for Season 1 that will be on air soon! Every season will have a different theme and focus. The first season will be a collection of short videos on things I think you might not know about certain common Afrikaans words and the way we use them in everyday spoken language. THESE are the kind of things that the books out there won’t necessarily tell you about and the type of things that we as Afrikaans tutors help our clients with. Hope you enjoy!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart. ‒Nelson Mandela






“A Girl Called Jane”

ImageOne of the stories behind this story.

I recently discovered an extremely inspiring blog about a lovely young lady who set herself a challenge. She is learning Afrikaans and wants to speak it fluently in one year’s time – when she will be travelling to and visiting South Africa on her own. Having been dumped by her boyfriend recently and in the mood for a new challenge and adventure, she started her own blog and started planning her trip – without any money to speak of. As I read her story and became mesmerised with her mission, I realised that it is because of people like her that I do what I do.

I was so inspired by her, that I started this blog. Although I have a different focus, it is essentially because of her that all of this was born. I have had many ideas, written many little things down and have taken lots of interesting pictures, but in this blog, it will have a structured purpose. I just needed the last piece of the puzzle and a reason to write and to me, this was Jane.

So thank you Jane. Thank you for learning an awesome language, taking the time to tell us about it and for taking the time to write that post on Calling you an inspiration is one way of saying it, but I want to pay you a much higher compliment. You are a spark.

Start your own fire by visiting



“The Blog”


My name is Jackie. I love people and I love stories, but most of all, I love people’s stories.

Amongst many other things, I am an Afrikaans lecturer and tutor. I have my own Afrikaans tutoring company in Stellenbosch, Cape Town called Africhance Tutors ( and there I meet people from all over the world. Through their stories and experiences I see the world, but I also get the rare opportunity to reflect on my own culture and country – perhaps the most interesting journey of all.

At Africhance Tutors we have had clients from more than 15 countries worldwide and I have made great friends, met some very interesting people and discovered a lot about my own language so far. Before I tell you more about Africhance, I would like to tell you what my blog is all about.

For the past two years the recurrent theme of the first meetings I had with new clients, was that they really struggled to learn Afrikaans on their own. This is not because they find the language difficult, but rather that they find the resources disappointing. After a while I couldn’t take it anymore and I started doing research. I wanted to find out for myself what they meant. I had basic knowledge of the resources out there and even used some of them when developing lesson material, but this time around I looked at all the websites, blogs, YouTube clips, free online software, CD’s and books I could possibly find and let me tell you this: I. was. shocked. I couldn’t believe that nobody has tried to do something else. Something different. Something relevant for goodness sake!

So I decided to do it. I am going to write a book accompanied by videos that will bring something different to the market. Somewhere where you can listen to podcasts, actual Afrikaans conversations at normal speed and gain knowledge about the exceptions to the rules. You know, all the stuff you are struggling to find at the moment. Through this blog, I am inviting you to be my travel buddy. I want to give you the chance to help me out by asking for different activities / material that you need / needed on your own journey of learning Afrikaans and that you would like to see incorporated in the product I am developing. It doesn’t matter if you are in Swellendam or Sweden, I want to hear from you.

At this stage I would just like to mention that I am not trying to reinvent the wheel here. I simply think that the existing material out there is lacking a lot of the information that my clients typically ask for. In my opinion the existing material is only a start. I would like to build on them using my own experience. My main goal is to help people to learn Afrikaans. It doesn’t matter what your reason or motivation is, it’s absolutely great that you are doing so. I think I can help and make a valuable contribution.

I have planned this project for about 6 months now and I am excited to get started. Please share this blog with anyone you think might find it useful. It is as much a new journey for me as it was for you to learn a new language. My head is bursting with what I think are great, creative ideas. If and how they will be implemented, remains to be seen.

If there is a market out there for what I want to do, please confirm it by letting me know you indeed exist. You have no idea how motivating that is for me.

So this is my story, I sincerely hope you love it.