It is said that some people's life can be measured in what they leave behind, while others, by how they are remembered by those they leave behind.

The founder of the MOC Foundation and namesake, Marie, started her remarkable life’s journey when she was born to the Louw Family on the 12th September 1927, in Calvinia at 11:45pm. 

She was the eldest of four sisters born to Lucas and Bathseba Louw who lived in the then, South West Africa, now named Namibia. 

Born in the years preceding the Second World War she was raised in a no-nonsense, hardworking and honest family who started with nothing but the results of their labour as newly arrived settlers on the land. Marie’s sisters, namely, Elise, Betsy and Talitha by 2016 have 14 grandchildren who, today live in South Africa, Namibia and Canada. Many of the Louw family descendants have eventually returned to Namibia.

Astoundingly, at exactly the same time on the 12th September 1927 in Oudtshoorn, Jack O’Connell was born to Geoffrey and Mattie O’Connell. Jack was one of three brothers, and too young to join the war effort was enlisted in the South African Police at the age of 17. Jack after graduating from the S.A.P Opleidings Depot in Pretoria (Troep 59 (V) in 1946 was posted to Bloemfontein and then Port Elizabeth during a period that would see South Africa enter a period best remembered by war, riots, public instability, and the incarceration of Nelson Mandela.

Marie, who had subsequently matriculated from the Windhoek Girls High School in 1944, took up a position as a nurse the following year at the Frere Hospital in East London. 

In 1949, in Port Elizabeth, Marie met Jack and married on the 3rd August 1950 and had two sons named after their parents, Lucas born in July 1953, while Geoffrey arrived in May 1961 during the year South Africa was first declared a Republic. 

While Jack, then stationed at the Baaken’s Street Police Station walked beat, Marie worked for a firm of attorneys as a Para-legal Department Assistant. After hours, she enrolled on a part-time secretarial course during the tough economic times following the great depression. As soon as she had qualified she was employed by the Eastern Province Rugby Union as a secretary.

Shortly after this, Marie would enter a man’s world due to an unfortunate set of circumstances and become the only lady Rugby Administrator during her tenour with the EPRFU in South Africa.


The Early Years

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