Tribute to Uncle Buddy
It was with a sense of loss and pain that I received the message on that fateful day of the 4th of June 2014 of the passing of Buddy Wentworth. Fortunately I could attend his funeral service.
I wish to salute a compatriot. He was my English teacher at Dr. Lemmer High School. Years later we became colleagues in the Constituent Assembly and the first Parliament of our Republic. He was appointed our first Deputy Minister of Education and rightly so, because he was a teacher at heart. As we would say in Afrikaans, ”n Meester”.
Uncle Buddy was a gentleman in the true sense of the word. He was facing death with courage and honesty. I have experienced him as a rock, steadfast. He would always tell me not to give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
His memories remind us of what we used to be which we no longer are because he did what he did. Even if we are not happy with our present, what he (they) did enable us to sing the African-American spiritual: ”We may not be what we would like to be, but thank God we aren’t what we used to be”.
Today there are many amongst us who, in their various and varied ways, are following the path cleared by a gallant man (and others) like Uncle Buddy.
We will miss Uncle Buddy, but we remember him for his witness to hope. He was reaching across boundaries. He displayed a deep respect for human dignity. He was a witness of hope and a champion of life.
He was a shining example and will be sadly missed.
May I, on behalf of my family and indeed on my own behalf, wish Uncle Buddy’s family strength and let us honour his memory.