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Return to focus on race

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It struck me then that there is a special poignancy when those who have been so much larger than life approach a reduced and lonely end

I want to be interested in people. If I treat you differently to how I’d treat the same demeanour, conduct, and all, coming in a different race package, I’d be ashamed.

Mashaba is telling me that this is a wrong thing to do. But he gives me no hint of a clue why.

There was a time that the name Shirley Firth was as recognisable to newspaper readers as, say, the name Charlize Theron is now. Or pretty nearly.

Firth was a stage person and a Joburg person rather than a global person. But on Joburg stages she was a queen.

Firth died last month, I have just learned.

I remember her now not primarily in her role as famous. I remember her in her permanent role as a bundle of love, light, and vigour.

We know there are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen and people who say “what happened?” (Which I feel leaves out that most major category of all, those who say “did something happen?”)

Firth was way up there with the top of that pile, involving herself in the happenings of the world around her, generously, openly, widely, and above all enthusiastically.

I last saw her a few years ago at the big Sandringham old age home, almost literally a shadow of her former self, hanging tenuously on to the edges of a mind that had ranged wide and deep over so much more terrain than most of us ever get to.

It struck me then that there is a special poignancy when those who have been so much larger than life approach a reduced and lonely end.

As I drove away, though, her infectious laugh rang in my ears, as clear as ever, bringing on a more heartening sentiment.

Fame and circumstances and comforts and all, may diminish with the passing of time, but a truly magnanimous soul never shrinks.