Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Carta da Filha de Archie Mafeje

Dear All,
I have read and appreciated all that was written about my father so far. At first, I refused to, simply because I wanted to shut out the idea of having lost such a man...Most of you wrote about his academic prowess, genius mind, incomparable wit and endless struggle for his nation and greater Africa. Having acknowledged all these attributes at a very early age, I later realized that Papa was a "giant" not only in the intellectual sense but as a human being.
My father was critical but humane, fierce but compassionate, sarcastic but gentle, silly but brilliant, stubborn but loyal, but most of all he was passionate.
Behind the cynical facade, my father was one of the kindest, warmest and most giving men I ever met. I vividly remember him getting me dressed for school everyday (militarily), asking me what I wanted to eat for lunch religiously (until I was 26!), never telling me to study because to him exams were for idiots, having serious chats with me without ever looking me in the eye (those of you who know him personally will relate), speaking to me logically in the most most illogical situations, pushing me to excel just to be worthy of being his daughter and mostly for being my ultimate reference.
Last time I saw Papa was late 2005. We spent a week together in Pretoria. Somehow I felt he didn't want to lose a minute, he introduced me to my South African family and friends, gave me advice on relationships, life and tennis, he even taught me his famous curry recipe. On my way back, I called my mother from the airport crying and I told her I knew it would be the last time I ever saw my father. Unfortunately, I was right. I was always told by him that 'life isn't fair', I never really understood what that meant until he left me. I wish I had seen him one last time, I wish I had told him what a hero he was in my eyes, I wish he had known how loved and admired he was. To me he will always remain Papa, Archie Mafeje, the man who got on the pedestal and never fell down.
His daughter,
Dana

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I apprciate the article written by dana. His death was indeed a loss. Anon

Ganief Hendricks said...

I met Dana for the first time at the funeral of Uncle Archie. It became clear that she was a daughter that any father would want. Yes we know all about the Profs correctness in everything he did. The 7 years he spent with us in Cape Town was memorable and we remember hismodesty "Archie is wise". Ganief Hendricks.

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