Martin Clark: “Fulfilled, Happy & Hilarious”

Meet Martin Clark: 

Martin says his life can be summed up in three word – Fulfilled, Happy and Hilarious. He says that he is the type of guy that doesn’t really enjoy talking too much about himself, he prefers doing; “I find that doing things tells a lot more about who you really are.”

What are you most passionate about in your life?  This is an easy one, my family! Having my own family and seeing how my kids are growing older is the most satisfying part of my life. Having a wonderful wife that supports me is absolutely priceless! We have been married for 20 years in February 2018!

What has been one of your greatest challenges in life?  I would have to say the day we were told that our eldest son John-Martin was diagnosed with “wilms tumour” cancer of the kidneys at the age of 13 months.

What has been your proudest moment in life?  Getting married to Jo-Marie and witnessing the births of all three of my children.

What is the most interesting you’ve ever encountered?  The most interesting thing I have ever done was in my matric year.  I took part in a cultural exchange program in Germany. I stayed with a German family for six weeks, went to school and had a taste of the German way of life. This experience really opened my eyes to the world and motivated me to see more of the world out there.

What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?  The scariest thing I have ever encountered was the day that I was almost hijacked. I can still remember the 9mm pointed at my face, it is something that I will never forget. I am just thankful that I am still here to tell the story!!!

What does an average day in your life look like?  I am the sales manager for CES Forklift in the Eastern Cape. Most of my time is spent linking up with potential clients, and ensuring that my existing clients are happy and that their forklifts are in good condition. I also do training of Forklift operators which I love doing.

What are you most grateful for in your life?  As I have said before, my family means the world to me, I cannot imagine my life without them. I am thankful for being able to work. I am thankful for good health. I am thankful for still having both my parents and sister who also plays a big role in our lives. I am thankful for great friends and colleagues who encourage and support me on a daily basis

What have you been thinking about lately?  I would have to say, growing my business and what I need to do to achieve my long-term goals. Looking back at my life, I have always wanted to be a teacher. That did not work out for me and now being 42 and halfway through my life, I need to look at what’s in front of me and turn it into a success. Hard work and dedication can take you far, but without a plan, a lot of the effort that you put in will go to waste. There is the old saying “failing to plan equals planning to fail” I realised that I am not too old to change my way of thinking, and hopefully the plan that I am putting into place will take me places!!

What do you believe?  I strongly believe that all of us are here for a purpose, it is not a coincidence that you were born, you were chosen and known even before you were born, I believe that our destiny has been given to us, we have the free will and choice to make decisions. Sometimes we make the wrong decisions, sometimes the right ones, regardless of what we decide; we have to take responsibility for these decisions.

The great thing is that even if you made the wrong decision, there is a fantastic word called GRACE, whether you are a Christian or not, to receive grace or to give grace is fantastic, and I will encourage everyone to keep that in mind the next time they are faced with a challenging experience.

What makes you smile/happy?  Seeing my kids happy, Mieke’s hair in the morning when she wakes up, Gerhard taking 5 minutes to tell you a 30-second story, John-Martin’s face when an airplane flies overhead, knowing that each of them is living their lives knowing that they are loved, what more can I ask for?

If you could have coffee with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?  My wife, Jo-Marie! She is my soul mate, my best friend and the person I want to spend most of my time with.

What and where is your favourite coffee shop?  I have to be honest, I am not your typical coffee shop person, Mugg and Bean on the Go is where I normally go, but if I had to mention a special place, it must be Roxy’s in Berea East London, they serve a great cup of coffee and the best sweet potato cake you have ever tasted!

What do you order when you go to a coffee shop?  A serious latte from Mugg and Bean, banting friendly and very tasty!

Do you have a favourite coffee mug that you prefer to drink from? At home I drink out of a mug that my kids bought me for father’s day last year, it is white and has the words “man of the moment” written on it.

What is the one thing that everyone visiting your city has to experience/do/see?  I live in East London South Africa, our beaches and several river mouths are well worth experiencing. We are an hour’s drive away from the Transkei, a place that can only be described as amazing!  We have the oldest roadhouse in South Africa, the Windmill and if you have never had a Friesland milkshake, well then you have not been to East London.

What other countries have you been to and what has been your favourite country to visit? Why has that country been your favourites so far?  I have been to Namibia (lived there for three years) Germany, England, France, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, America, and Canada.

I would have to say that England and France have to be my favourites, I love the history and the fact that everything just works. Highlights in England surely have to be Windsor castle and Tower Bridge and the city of York and obviously seeing the Bokke beat the English at Twickenham!

Paris is an amazing city, and I have been privileged to visit there twice with my wife, it is a special place with the most amazing museums and art galleries.

What is your top travel/adventure activities that you still want to do?  I want to take my family to Euro Disney. I would love to rent a camper and drive through Scotland, Ireland, and Wales and I would love to go to Norway and Sweden

Do you have a favourite charity/organization that you are involved with or that you like?  Touching Africa Initiative

Why that charity/organization? What do they do?  Touching  Africa was formed years ago and forms part of my wife’s company AGES. They strive to make a difference in their communities by launching projects and investing in young entrepreneurs.

If you are actively involved with this charity/organization, what is your involvement / what do you do at the charity/organization?  I used to be actively involved with Touching Africa in the Eastern Cape a few years ago, but due to changes in my working situation, I am no longer doing this.

Share some special moments/memories with us where you could see that your charity/organization was making a difference?  When I was still involved, I had the privilege to work with a pre-school in one of our villages, where we helped with desks and chairs for the kids, a new jungle gym and a water tank for clean drinking water. Nonkosi Ntloko the principal and founder of New Start Day Care Centre has gone on and they are really doing amazing things within that community.

How/Where can other people get involved?  You are welcome to go and have a look at their facebook page: Touching Africa Initiative 

Share a memory with us where you have done something good/kind?  One of my fondest memories will have to be the story of oom Jan, a few years back I was working in the Transkei, North of Coffee Bay. We were there for about a week or two. One evening after our days’ work I dropped the workers off and an old man came up to me and asked for a lift. He jumped on the back of the bakkie and when I dropped him off, he said thank you in fluent Afrikaans, I found it strange and asked him why he was able to speak Afrikaans, it was only then that I really saw how short this old man was.

He started telling me his story, he was from Molteno, about 500km away from Coffee Bay, he was brought there two years earlier by a farmer to help build a cottage, but the farmer left and never returned to fetch him.

At that stage oom, Jan was living in the bush, and the community helped him with food and blankets. I asked him if he would like to go home, he said yes and so we made arrangements and the next day he left with us to go to East London, I can remember how he said that all he wants to eat is a “bietjie vleisirigheid” (something meaty), but he had no teeth left!! Jo-Marie made beef stroganoff, and believe me, oom Jan had no problem finishing the two plates that were dished up. After a bath and a set of new clothes, he spent the night with us, and the next morning I arranged transport for him to Molteno.

On Sunday morning a very surprised farmer called to say that oom Jan arrived safely and that everyone was excited to have him back!!

This is something that I will never forget, It felt so good to do something for someone else!

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