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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 30 May 2014
IVAN VOSLOO - THE YOUNG AND FUEL INFUSED

WHO IS IVAN VOSLOO?

I am the second eldest of a large family, of mostly boys and two sisters. 
Whilst born in the capital city of South Africa, Pretoria, I spend a considerable time of my childhood in the rural north of the country, where I completely fell in love with the “Bush” and the animals and people who live there.

For high school I went back to Pretoria, and like the rest of my siblings became very involved in competitive sports. For me that was mostly athletics and biathlon. After high school in Pretoria, I was selected as a Rotary International Exchange Student and sent
to Brisbane, Australia in 1985. My family took endless amount of road trips around southern Africa, and that year in Australia, confirmed my “travel bug” which would stay with me till now, and shape my career choice.

My dad was adamant that all of his children will go to university, and pushed us hard to ensure that we all got scholarships to do so, and as such I attended the University of Pretoria to study Law and International Politics.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR FOND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES?

Like many children of Africa, my Grandparents played a significant role in my life. My brothers and i mostly grew up with them. The knowledge one gains being surrounded by the family elders is immeasurable. The freedom of growing up in the African bush, always barefoot, and never coming into the house till the last sun rays draw water, will never be forgotten. South Africa didn’t get TV till I was 10 years old, so we all played outside all day long.

WHAT FINALLY BROUGHT YOU TO MAURITIUS?

Having been a diplomat for all my adult life (27 years) i have become used to uprooting myself and going where the job takes me. This journey started with my first posting in Spain, followed by an extremely interesting time during the final years of the civil
war in Mozambique. I witnessed the peace negotiations and the reconstruction of that nation whilst my own country was going through its own revolution.

After this i got my first experience of 'island life' - Manhattan style! I spent 7 years living and working in probably the world's greatest cosmopolitan city and met just about every culture in the world and sampled their gastronomy there. With more than
20 000 restaurants, I had to train hard so as not to get too big for my pants. 4 years ago, following a short stint back at Head Office in Pretoria, I was asked to come do some relief duty here in Mauritius, which changed into a posting and a nice change of pace from urban to island time.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO HERE?

I am the First Secretary (political) at the South African High Commission to Mauritius and Seychelles

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE SOME THINGS YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT?

I am passionate about my country, South Africa, and all its people, so I guess I’m in the right job. My nature compels me to explain issues to others when I sense confusion. I have been known to talk a lot, but this may explain why, I love being a mentor to
younger people who really need a leg up and a chance to show what they can do. I am also an avid rugby fan, and being from the north of South Africa, a big Blue Bulls supporter (I know that is not to popular amongst most of my fellow countrymen on the
island)

GIVE US A GLIMPSE AT AN AVERAGE DAY IN YOUR BUSY LIFE

Since we are a small Mission, I am basically the “chief cook and bottle washer” at the Embassy. I have to deal with all non-administrative issues, from Cultural, Tourism, Science and political relations to trade and investment promotion between South
Africa, Mauritius and Seychelles.  I love coming to the office in the morning and not knowing fully what my day is going to entail.

DO YOU HAVE ANY CLOSING COMMENTS OR OTHER INFO YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

I will be leaving Mauritius at the end of June since my tour of duty is almost over. One thing that is encouraging to me at the moment is the signs that the young people here are more and more seeing themselves as Mauritians, first and only.

Maybe one day soon, the words of the great speech by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, “I am an AFRICAN” will also make the youth of this beautiful country stand tall, proud and steadfast

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