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!!
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.?
RIP Tata Mandela.