Born in Cape Town, South Africa |
Paul’s childhood involved moving from one family to another as he had lost his mother to cancer and his father came in and out of his life. At the age of eight his mother’s brother Godfrey and his wife Audrey Ardene became wonderful foster parents for Paul and his brother. His sister on the other hand, migrated to Canada with another aunt. When Paul was completing high school there was an increase in the number of riots, marches, school closures and crime, with police raids occurring across much of South Africa. It had become clear that it would not be safe to stay. As the situation worsened, his older sister sent, in the winter of 1986, for Paul to come and join her in Canada. Arriving in the ‘dead of winter’ and wearing a thin spring denim jacket with a short sleeve shirt, Paul recalls that it was not easy to leave his birth country and all of his family. Specifically his younger brother Godfrey, whom he cared for dearly, and ended up tragically passing away at the age of 16. Paul feels free in Canada and values its democracy. He met his wife of fourteen years in Toronto and they now have three children.
“Race here is not a factor when it comes to how you want to succeed in life.”
Currently Paul works as a child care consultant to newcomer families as well doing motivational speaking coaching individuals how to live their dreams and overcome their fears. One of Paul’s heroes is Nelson Mandela whom, still being a citizen of South Africa at the time, he voted for in 1994. Paul believes in and lives by a saying of Mr. Mandela’s “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Toronto as Home
Paul found his ‘dream home’ in Toronto’s east end.
“It’s not a mansion by any means but it’s the location that makes it so special.”
In South Africa he grew up close to the ocean, and now he owns a house across the street from Lake Ontario. Paul likes to work with his hands and spends a lot of time in the garage working on various projects. The projects run the gamut from renovating his home to building custom lawn chairs for his front porch and has a large collection of tools. If Paul is not at home fixing a broken faucet there’s always a neighbour needing a quick repair job and he is always happy to oblige.
Connection with the Past
Paul lost two siblings and parents at a young age. His older sister Alice, a practicing Muslim, is the only sibling he has left from his immediate family. Paul explains how he is a practicing Christian, but while they are different in the sense of ‘faith’, they both are proud Canadians coming from Cape Town. Paul’s love for his sister runs deep, she connects him to his past, and holding her hand he describes as “an honour”. He says that they have been through so much as siblings.