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Hippos, Hotspots, and Homelands

Hippos, Hotspots, and Homelands

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Elsa van der Byl, also known as Elsa Dixon, is a multifaceted South African educator, author, and adventurer. Her career in South Africa spans many years, during which she has made significant contributions in various fields:

  • Education: Elsa has worked extensively as an educator, teaching languages and music at schools. She also served as the acting rector of a college of education, where she helped transform educational programs and served on several educational committees.
  • Authorship: She is the author of the memoir “Hippos, Hotspots, and Homelands: An Educator’s Journey in South Africa during Apartheid and Beyond,” which describes her life and experiences in South Africa during a transformative period in the country’s history.
  • International Teaching: Elsa accepted a contract as a visiting international teacher in the USA, further expanding her influence and sharing her expertise beyond South Africa.
  • Legacy: As the daughter of the famous South African comedian Piet Pompies, Elsa compiled a book titled “Piet wat Pompies was,” which sheds light on her father’s life and career.

Elsa’s adventures and experiences are not only confined to the classroom; she has also taken small tour groups to South Africa through her company, TravelswithElsa (LLC), sharing her love for her homeland with others1. Her work reflects a deep commitment to education, cultural exchange, and storytelling, making her a respected figure in her field. For more information on her travel articles and other publications, you can visit her website

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