It’s an all-too-common story in Ireland.
But visiting South African Etienne Van Wyk is hoping an extended stay in Cork will help him uncover the truth about his birth family, shedding light on a part of his life that has been inaccessible to him for five decades.
Etienne, 52, has reached out to the public to share his story in the hope that a Yay Cork reader may be able to put him in touch with a relative here.
As far as he knows, he was born in Cork and brought to South Africa at the age of four or five.
“I know my sister attended school in Cork since she was Roman Catholic and attended Catholic school,” he told us.
“She may have escorted or taken me over to South Africa when I turned four or five as we have some dates for the issue of my South Africa Identity documents.
“I was raised in the Eastern Cape Province specifically Port Elizabeth, where a large number of Irish citizens resided as part of 1820 settlers to South Africa. During the 1960s we relocated to Pretoria in the then Transvaal Province (now Gauteng with Johannesburg and Pretoria being most commonly known).
“My grandparents are from Cobh and Cork City. After the passing of my mother, who it seems was actually my older sister, I was informed that our family is linked to County Cork and possibly Dublin.
‘Stop asking questions’
“I do not know their identity, other than we were from Cork and Cóbh. I always had conversations with my mother who said I should stop asking questions as it will cause more family problems.
Etienne does have a few details to go on, including the family name Moore and first names Dorothy Joan (Jean) Moore, Archibald William, Archibald Albert and Aubrey Denis.
He has already found plenty of help on Leeside, not least from Michael Wall of Salvagem on MacCurtain Street, and is eager to speak with anyone who may have photos, documents, or any memories of him or his family before they left Ireland.
“I am currently in Cork City and would really love to meet and ask for assistance to trace my relatives since I am convinced they are still alive and residing in Ireland.
“I was here during May 2022 and invited to Collins Barracks for the 100th Anniversary Parade as I served in the Armed Forces myself, and met wonderful people. My stay here really let me feel at home and welcome.
“With the new changes in the law pertaining to Irish children adopted by foreign families, I would love to be reunited with my family and siblings. I have this notion that at least one or both my parents are still alive and I really would love to meet them,” he added.
Etienne will be staying in Cork until October 20th. If you would like to contact him you can email email@example.com or text 087 147 0783.