Harold has a heart op in good spirits: Down but not out

2011-06-25 00:00

UNPARALLELED wit combined with a zest for life have contributed to struggle veteran, artist and writer Harold Strachan surviving a triple heart bypass.

“I’m a bit buggered, but I’m about to bounce back. I have bits of my leg inside of my heart; please do say hello to everyone for me,” he joked from his bed this week.

Strachan (85) was rushed to the Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre three weeks ago after experiencing chest pains, and according to his son Joe, everyone held their breath.

He was discharged on Tuesday morning.

The barrage of concerned callers will be relieved to know that the stalwart columnist is in good spirits and will be writing again soon.

Rumours of his dismissal have been greatly exagerrated.

“We were obviously very concerned, but right now he’s recovering in bed and despite the massive surgery, is concerned he missed out on some big stories­,” said Joe.

Strachan is no stranger to setbacks. A four-year prison term, followed by 10 years of house arrest and a total of 16 years of unemployment were part of the price of his fight for democracy.

In April the award winning Witness columnist was awarded an honorary doctor of technology degree in arts and design by the Durban University of Technology for his artistic talents and a career dedicated to helping build the foundations of South African democracy.

Strachan believes “the brave and wavering commitment to justice” that he was honoured for started many years ago while in an all-white boys’ school in Natal, where he identified the rudiments of fascism in ordinary people’s behaviour within his own culture.

He published his first book Way Up Way Out: A Satirical Novel at the age of 72 and then another distinguished contribution with Make a Skyf in 2004.

A South African Air Force pilot in the fifties he was active in the Communist Party and ANC armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe.

He now works as an art restorer and columnist for Noseweek magazine and Weekend Witness.

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