1994 – Part 3

A friend of mine was having a bit of a party, because of my very close association and friendship with Oom Ray, I got invited to all kinds of interesting event, in accepting his invitation I mentioned that I would be a bit late.

As I would be attending an SACP function, I mentioned that Joe Slovo and Essop Pahad would also be attending.  Jokingly he said, “Bring Joe to my party!”   We roared with laughter.  Gosh! Imagine me walking up to Joe, “Hey would you like to come to my friend’s party?”  Incidentally my friends were all deeply involved and invested in the struggle for a free and equitable society.  

The event ended early, in chatting to a few folks Essop Pahad mentioned that he wasn’t ready to turn in; he wanted to be out and about.  I turned to him and said:  “I am going to a party would you like to accompany me?”  So off I went to the party, Essop and Security Person in tow.  Oh my! The expressions on everyone’s face – priceless!

I mentioned in my previous post that Madiba was at times a security nightmare.   When Madiba journeyed to Gqeberha to meet with the Business Community, the Security detail requested that he use the VIP entrance and lounge on his arrival.  He refused to entertain such a notion, he wanted to mix and meet people.  My favourite Security person related the following story to me.   

In my friend’s words:  “People were waiting for the plane from Johannesburg to land, security in and around the airport was tight, with many plain clothes SAPS people and ANC security personnel mulling about “pretending to meet friends and family. My chap focussed on a young white couple and their three year old son waiting in the arrivals area; please note everyone is viewed with suspicion.    Madiba entered the arrivals area; with his big booming voice he greeted everyone.  The little boy waiting with his parents jumped up and ran excitedly shouting, his little arms in the air “Madiba! Madiba!. There was a bit of a flurry as one of the security chaps tried to stop the little boy. “Leave him, leave him” responded Madiba who then bent down and picked the little boy up.  Just for a moment picture the scene, an elderly gentleman and a young child chatting away in Afrikaans.  My friend mentioned that he was almost in tears, a poignant moment never to be forgotten.  “Waar is jou ouers,” boomed Madiba, with great excitement and a huge smile on his face, the little chap introduced his parents to Madiba.

In the midst of all of this busyness, George and I started dating.  I have to hand it to him, he didn’t flinch, and neither did he run away, he stayed the course.  One day whilst drinking tea with my beloved Oom Ray, I told him that I had met a very nice man and I would like them to meet each other.  I invited Oom Ray and Ma Dixie to join us for dinner in my apartment, I was a little bit anxious, would they like George, would the conversation flow and so on and so forth.   I need not have worried – it turned out to be a fabulous evening, loads of laughter, talking and joking.  One slightly embarrassing moment, Oom Ray reminded George that if he intended marrying me, the question of Labola needed to be settled.  I blushed, undeterred George said “Would frozen meat do?”…“Absolutely not” said the old man,” I want cows, lots of them!”

Life took us on different paths, we, remained friends and stayed in contact with each other.

I am grateful for this time of quiet reflection, recalling people, events and situations.  There is an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I, in some very small and yet significant way lived history. 

South Africans are a feisty lot, every single one of us, therefore, I pray we use our sass, attitude, and sense of humour in embracing and practicing the true meaning of Ubuntu:

A person is a person because of other people

May we always be curious, kind and caring?

Thank you, George, for encouraging me to tell me to share my stories and for believing in me.

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  • Michelle

    I also thank George for encouraging you and for staying the course. You are an awesome couple and I always enjoy it when we get together. Thanks again for sharing snippets from your life.

  • Michelle Erasmus

    Love your stories Aunt Gail ♥️


    And, still up to now, i cannot understand why frozen meat was not acceptable.🤣😂🤣