Jack and her modern tribe family

Neo Bodumela

THERE is a saying that behind every successful man, there is a strong woman and it rings true for Karen Jack. Jack, who is the manager of Modern Tribe (formerly known as New Afro Teens) and the wife of Khusta Jack may not always be in the forefront of the stage but she is certainly setting her own standards.

She joined La Femme at the Boardwalk Hotel’s Kipling’s Brasserie for an early morning coffee to talk about lesser-known facets of her life, including her work as a journalist in apartheid South Africa.

Although the softly spoken mother of two grew up in a largely anti-apartheid home with her father and brothers participating in the movement, she admitted she had a sheltered life.

“My father was an Anglican bishop and he had always taken an anti-apartheid stance … there were always struggle comrades around with my dad and my brothers. I would say that the life I was living was like a split personality because I was from this white upbringing and I had all these white friends on the one hand. And on the other hand, I would go into the townships often and would see the injustice … even later on as a journalist, I was caught in these two worlds. But now I can truly say that these worlds have merged,” she said.

It is through her anti-apartheid stance that she met and later married former United Democratic Front leader Khusta Jack – a turn she said she never thought her life would take.

“I knew Khusta through my brothers and my dad’s work but I didn’t really take note of him then and, I think, neither did he take note of me then.

“I really never thought I would marry someone like Khusta and I would say that life has turned out really well for me.

“When we met, we decided to go to England, where we lived for three years before coming back to South Africa, and now we’ve been married for 23 years.”

I picked Kiplings because as a family we come here often for a light lunch, or Sunday tea or drinks before we go into Kiplings.

The person who has taught me the most is definitely my husband. Human behaviour, business methods, anything. He thinks out of the box, all the time.

I have a soft spot for my dogs.

I’m listening to Modern Tribe songs. They have a producer in Joburg who is “tidying up” their songs.

My music weakness is that I love a wide range of music from maskandi, mbaqanga, pop, electro, hip-hop, anything!

Nothing makes me happier than holidaying with my family. Whether it’s St Francis Bay or Vietnam (in December), it’s always fun.

I absolutely hate poachers – rhino, elephant and lion poachers the most.

My favourite places in the metro are the Boardwalk of course. Shows at the ICC and Vodacom amphitheatre, meals at Kiplings, and Squires, just chilling there.

I love Stanley Street, especially Posh. I love the beachfront. PE has the most beautiful beaches.

I love the Royalston Game Reserve and Residential Estate – we have bought a plot there. I love the Donkin and all the whacky artwork around Central, done by the NMB Development Agency. It gives the city character. I love the Baakens Valley with its Knysna louries. I walk the dogs there.

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