Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Rob Robertson: A Tribute

I did not know Rob Robertson and his wife Gert well. My wife Fiona Semple introduced me to them, and they immediately felt like old friends. In a few visits, I had a sense of a big life, lived to the full, yet without selfishness.

On our last visit in December 2006, he proudly showed off mementoes of his bungee jump. He had done this at the highest jump site in the world. He had negotiated to do it for free for the publicity value of being the first 80-year-old to do so and was very disappointed that another octogenarian (a word that didn't fit his demeanour) had beaten him to it. Nonetheless, the operators let him have his jump free of charge.

That Fiona had over 50 emails from various people within days of hearing of his death – he was knocked down by a speeding car while crossing the road on the way home from a run – indicates that his life had a lot more depth to it than I experienced personally. I would like anyone who knew him to post a comment here; I feel unqualified to comment on his long life and quiet achievement, including his early attempts at breaking down the walls of apartheid.

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