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Eldon Phukuile
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Ordinary South Africans and other people who have inspired me

13 June 2012, 10:36

I was inspired by some brave and humble South African achievers whom I have had the honour of meeting during my small, meagre time. I’m going to name names and I apologise to those who may not like it, but I think that your positive impact on society deserves a mention.

My parents, family, friends and those in my religious/spiritual circle…. Done.

Now… Mr Birkenbach – my dad used to call you Bergie. I respected you so much and Willowridge High School was great because of you.

Roland Schoeman – I remember playing soccer together in primary school and countless teenage conversations, while throwing stones at streetpoles outside the Willowridge school gate while waiting for our parents to pick us up. Your achievements awe me especially because I was naïve enough to miss seeing a champion rise right up infront of my eyes.

Nelson Mandela – I don’t think anyone will ever know what your sacrifice really cost, or felt like. I can’t help but think that if it was me, that I would have reacted so differently – violently, vengefully, and you did not. You are the consummate leader and inspiration and there’s a special kind of reward for people like yourself in the afterlife.

Dr Goldman at the University of Johannesburg, my longsuffering promoter. Thank you, sir. Please hang in there and do not give up on me. We’re nearly there.

Glen Lewis – for your humility and just for being nice when I’ve met you on the odd occasion. As a teenager, I was very influenced by you and I cant recall ever reading any negative publicity about you. That’s admirable – no, that’s great. Thank you.

Alan Knott-Craig. Wow, what a boss. I looked up to you since you first spoke to us as young bursary students in about 2000. If you asked me to go to war, I’d go.

Tito Mboweni – I met you one night while you were the Minister of Labour. Your humility and plain niceness surprised me and made me tell that to people for ages.

Kader Asmal – always smiled and showed so much care when we bumped into each other. Once again, plain humility and kindness.

Mosiuoa Terror Lekota – bumped into you outside the hardware store the other day. I enjoyed our leisurely chat. You struck me as a down to earth and nice gentleman.

Surina, Bertus, Mrs Brikkels and many others who have given me a chance. We honor your contribution and legacy.

As I watch the progression of the olympic torch towards the lighting of the Olympic flame, I see that it is passed from hand to hand. Sometimes it goes out. No biggie – it is re-lit and we carry on. However, when the Olympic flame is finally lit, the legacy of that particular games is sealed. So in life, the ceremonial torch is passed from person to other to carry the light. These too, are small contributions that lead to the lighting of the flame that seals their own, personal legacy. We thank you.

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