Friday, December 13, 2013


Getting a phone call early in the morning telling us the terrible news that Robbie Clarke had died just absolutely shocked us. A young man of twenty eight killed on his motor bike. This was too awful!

Robbie's Dad had taught with Warren at Jeppe, followed us to Swaziland together with his wife Elsa and two children Robert and Jennifer. Two more sisters arrived while they lived in Swaziland, Monica and Emily. The family thrived while living in Big Bend and Austin rose through the ranks from Accountancy teacher to Headmaster of his own school. Then we moved to Uplands and with four children needing good high schooling, Austin took up the position of bursar. When it was time for Warren to move on Austin became the Headmaster of Uplands. The children slotted into the College and Prep and Robert was an instant success. He studied at UCT and had the world at his feet.

Two months previous to his death he married an Uplands girl. And then poof he was gone....! It is all too much for anyone to handle let alone his new wife and his family. We were so lucky that we could attend his funeral in JHB just before leaving for Malaysia. Just to hug those girls as I have taught all four Clarke children and feel I know them well. To be able to chat and offer condolences to Austin and Elsa was so cathartic for us. TOO MANY children of friends of ours have died! It's not the natural way things should happen!!

Later in the week, to wake up to the news that the worlds greatest leader Nelson Mandela had died, was very sad. Not so much his death as he had been ill and bed bound for a long time and his death was probably a happy release but the fact that this Great Statesman, Father of the nation, has gone, is a sad moment in time. South Africa has done him proud with all the memorial services held for him, the accolades the honoring of the Great Man he was! I was deeply moved listening to Desmind Tutu' s service.

Christopher, many years ago had the honour of meeting the great man himself. It was 1995 when he found himself on the same small plane flying from JHB to Manzini, Swaziland and he was able to get his signature. Christopher and Diana named their son Benjamin Nelson after the great man.

Nicholas was interviewed a few months ago by BFM on the local Malaysian radio programme to give his thought and impressions. Listening to this made me rather weepy too.?

Sarah, on hearing the news gathered her Team and went straight to his home in Houghton to pay their respects. She also managed to get to the FNB stadium for his memorial service.

I am proud that my children could honour and recognize this wonderful man.

RIP Tata Mandela.


No comments:

Post a Comment