Born into an unconventional family to humble, hard working parents who defied the norm by falling in love despite an 18-year age gap, Toni was reared by these wonderful human beings who taught by simply being and who were determined to give their children what they could only dream of. Their little family of four miraculously turned into fourteen every now and again as the family welcomed others in their hearts.
The Erasmus Family
Growing up with a Dad who many people thought was her grandpa, was the one thing that rattled her mind. Toni always believed that she had an old soul and her Dad’s age had something to do with that! She always chose to seek wisdom from the older folks and loved listening to jazz music – Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley and the golden oldies were played on repeat in their family home. As she grew older, she realised that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree because she displayed a natural ease with people, one of her dad’s strongest traits. Not only was her heart for people, she also had a habit of making friends with those older than her and as she developed, she had the strangest ability to learn the basics of any new language in seconds. Her innate ability to connect, serve, reason and love people remains her gift today, and she uses it through writing, Public Relations Management and Communication to express herself.
The family that multiplied
As a child, Toni was a quiet little dreamer. It was easier for her to relate to trees and animals than her classmates, and teachers could not always fathom her. It was like her mind could not contain all her millions of ideas and she was constantly creating things and finding herself covering her parents’ bedroom walls with her creativity. It was this that gave her the title “Jack of all trades” with strong creative interest; she was determined to not be a master of none but to pursue greatness in everything she did.
Toni with her precious grandma
“I remember growing up and finding myself in new environments, spaces and all sorts of activities. I was always busy and could talk to anyone about anything under the sun – it is exactly this quality that led to me being labelled “Jack of all trades”. It was also weird and confusing, and I hated being different, having an older Dad and being the awkward person in the room. It was only until I started discovering and owning who I was that life started making sense and I was able to look at my life from a different perspective. I thought about the times when we had nothing, yet it seemed like we had in abundance. When I felt lost and confused, I was always discovered and having an older Dad, in reality, enabled me to learn and be ahead of the pack.
“My fondest memories of growing up are the days of being a “snotkop”, sitting next to my parents as they trade on Saturday mornings. What amazed me the most, was their ability to see opportunity and to ensure that they provide for us. I admired my Mother who was an ardent activist and entrepreneur; she was also passionate about anything that was going to drive change, bring people together and put food on the table. I witnessed so many faces journeying with us, some who have said goodbye to this life and some who still laugh with us at the good old times. I often reflect and think that our life would never have been the same without them who effortlessly gave and who came in and out of our home, working together, looking out for each other, and building together!”
Toni believes that life is one big adventure and that all things happen to expand ourselves: everything that is happening to us, is happening for us. From overcoming multiple challenges, taking a road less travelled to living an extraordinary, simple life. “When we are grateful, we become more of ourselves.”