Sean Africa, 1965-2007.
An old school friend, whom I haven’t seen for maybe 15 years. In 1980 and 1981, he was a firebrand ‘boikot-kop’, a student activist at two of the high schools I attended with him. Also known as ‘Hare’ because of his hirsuteness, he was one of those who, importantly, were committed to the small parts they got in the grander story of South Africa’s last apartheid decade. Forgotten student activists who made heard their voice and protest, and inspired fellow students to do the same.
We spent our last three years at high school in the same class, and were part of a group of four close friends who often got into trouble together, mainly because of our ‘uncompromising’, rebellious stance: challenging teachers’ authority, cutting classes and smoking at school. In the last year of school (1984), he was head prefect while I turned down the opportunity to be one. Some form of comedy ensued for the rest of that year, with him constantly trying to catch me smoking. He caught me once, but our friendship endured.
Alas, it did not endure the vagaries of different career paths and the natural half-life of such early friendships. We followed tertiary education at different institutions; I left Paarl, he stayed there.
Go in peace, Sean. You sought to answer the fundamental question of philosophy.