As in a sibling relationship, Natascha Jacobsz is extremely protective of her continent and its people. She describes herself as a typical white South African child, who’ll deal with anyone who dares to chastize Africa.
The 32-year-old started her career at CNBC Africa in 2008 and says she was a wet-behind-the-ears business features producer, with no business news experience. She’d previously worked in current affairs and general news.
Even though Jacobsz studied law at the University of Pretoria, the journalism bug bit her when she joined the local campus radio station, Tuks FM, as a newsreader.
In 2005, Jacobsz joined CNBC Africa and worked as a business news producer for seven years.
In 2015, Jacobsz relocated to the Netherlands with her family and joined the Dutch media NGO, RNW Media as a project manager for This is Africa, a website dedicated to providing an alternative, non-Western narrative of Africa.
“I am innately curious with a passion for Africa, people and story-telling. In the words of [former South African President] Thabo Mbeki – I am an African. It’s who I am at my core and it plays a huge part in my sense of identity, especially since relocating to Europe,” she says.
Although she admits business news is a tough but extremely gratifying industry to work in, her career has given her first-hand experience of the untapped potential of people in Africa.
“We have some of the most innovative men, women and youngsters on the planet. However, when it comes to economics, I’m hesitant to blanket Africa as a whole. Unlike the European Union (EU), our sense of ‘oneness’, at least on an economic level, is a lot more complicated,” she says.
Living in Europe has made her aware that financial challenges, especially those at a macro- economic level, are the same everywhere.
“Economic growth has all but stalled across many developed nations and, according to reports such as the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recent World Economic Outlook, which highlights projected GDP growth levels above 5% in more than 10 countries, one can’t help but get excited about Africa as a whole,” Jacobsz says.
It hasn’t been all work and no play for the travel enthusiast. One of her fondest memories includes a Mt. Kilimanjaro expedition with CNBC Africa Vice Chairman, Rakesh Wahi, who led it in 2013.
“It was an incredible bonding experience and a great lesson in humility,” she says.
Jacobsz foresees Africa’s full potential being unlocked, along with the hope that every African woman will be able to pursue any dream without restriction, be it personal or professional..
– Thandi Xaba