When we found out we were having a boy, we wanted to give him a strong name with attributes of strength of character, leadership and courage. Brendon suggested Thor (I know!) and I told him we can’t call our child after the Norse god of thunder and expect him not to become a bliksem* when he grows up.

I think that first names should ‘match’ surnames – there should be some symmetry or alignment between them. It just so happens that in Brendon’s family line, our boy is the first and may even be the only one to carry forward this branch of the MacDonald name.

So we looked at our family tree and found two perfect names, one from my side and one from Brendon’s that made a good match. For our baby boy, two of his great-grandfathers had lovely names that we felt were just perfect for him: Angus Jacob MacDonald.

Here are two very shortened versions of these great grandfathers’ life stories…



Angus Ian MacDonald was Brendon’s paternal grandfather. He was born in 1926 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (at the time). I don’t know which Angus he was named after, but there were undoubtedly a few in the family line! His father, William, was born in Inverness, Scotland, and met his wife Elizabeth in the Congo. They then moved to Bulawayo where they started the town’s first taxi company, MacDonald Taxis – which still trades today. Angus worked in the railways for most of his professional life and held clerical and accountancy posts in various departments. He had an enquiring mind and loved gadgets. His hobbies ranged from coin collecting to photography. When he was younger he played guitar and piano in a dance band called the Flamingos. He was also a deacon and treasurer in his church for many years.

Based on the stories that I’ve heard about him, he enjoyed trying new things. On one occasion he decided to grow mushrooms (edible, not recreational). After some time spent building special sheds for these mushrooms and getting all the conditions just right, no mushrooms appeared. Exasperated he threw the soil out in the garden and lo and behold they all came up! He also had a penchant for making creme brulee when he was retired and would offer this to any guest. He also had a fox terrier called Patch that could climb trees and once fell on his head and was never quite the same dog again.


Jacob Andries Cornelius ‘Japie’ Scholtz was my maternal grandfather. He was born in 1915 in Deben, South Africa.

He was one of seven children and went to a farm school where he and his siblings milked cows and helped out on the farm in lieu of school fees. He served in the army and about 10 years after leaving school decided to become a church minister. He studied Theology at the University of Pretoria. Once ordained, he served in several rural communities around South Africa, including the Karoo village of Nieu Bethesda. He retired in Klein Brak River, Mosselbaai. Somebody once gave him a whole lot of cacti seeds and he planted them in every bed in the garden….an entire garden filled with spiky cacti of every shape and size. His dog, Ogies, was a toy pom who enjoyed going for drives with him in his green volvo.

His all time favourite treat was a bucket family feast from Kentucky Fried Chicken.


*Afrikaans Noun. Roughly the same meaning as ‘hellraiser’. Word derived from lightening bolt