Tag: University of Pretoria

A Tribute to Duncan

I want to pay my respects to a person I barely knew, and yet who made a lasting impression. Duncan was a very upbeat and enthusiastic guy who lived next to me in res; a rare ray of sunlight in an all too dark and grey world. I knew him only a small span of time, but he constantly reinforced the positivity that everybody should strive to live up to – the epitome. There was always laughter resonating from next door; always guitar tunes drifting through the air, Spanish spoken to friends who stood in our residence’s courtyard, songs sung, jokes cracked. A constant bustle dominated our corridor, Duncan being the centre of enthusiasm and smiles. A constant stream of people was drawn to Duncan’s room; like moths to a flame, sharing and revelling in his warm company. Duncan was a majestic lion taking on life, with a soft heart filled with compassion.

I want to share a few photos I took on that last weekend we spent with him on our residence’s serenade camp.  

A message left on his door, from a friend on our corridor:

When our baritone voice group was warming up I took a few photos:

That first night around the fire:

Playing sports during breaks:

Arms raised:

Duncan has left friends and family too soon, but all he achieved in such a short time should be celebrated (especially the lives he touched: with just a smile or  good-natured ‘chilled vibes’)

I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

His presence will be greatly missed – but his spirit, love, laughter and memory will live on, ad infinitum.

 

Lion (a tribute to Duncan Craig Allan)

 

The king of animals; strapping

Making order of all this chaos

This is what the lion does

The lion smiles, with sharp and ready

Claws to take on the world

Always humming a tune

Strumming the melody out

Of life, dancing, smiling –

The lion gazes, intensely

Sucking the marrow out of life

 

This lion will be missed

King of many hearts

King of laughter, jesters

This lion will be missed

No other animal can

Take up his steady place

 

This lion will be remembered

For his tenacity

For his laughter

For his lion’s heart

 

Go now, to the gates of heaven

And rightly take your place among

Pastures of cloud, pastures of peace

Gambol in sunlight, romp in delight

Sow your spirit ad infinitum

 

August 2011 – Francois Hermanus Steyn

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Home

A photo of our residence’s mascot / symbol / statue chilling busy grazing or chilling beneath a Serengeti tree (oh and it’s a rhino). Normally it isn’t painted like a zebra; but a stubborn, strong and powerful grey.

Home is where the heart is. I live in a hostel at the University of Pretoria, thus I have two homes: an academic one and my real home. The common things my homes share are; food, friendship, a hierarchy of power (just like any system or institution in the world) and laughter.

The camaraderie in our hostel is awesome and there is a clear sense of purpose felt with the joint identity we all share. It is like we are our own little country, governed by ourselves and obviously influenced by external factors (we can’t just do what we want to!) – like Tuksres and other Western traditions and ideals. It is amazing to see a bunch of diverse people coming together and make the best of this little universe. Obviously today we are much more liberal and we have lots of room to express our individualities: therefore no boot camp and brainwashing.

But yes, life in a residence is not to everyone’s taste, or everyone’s cup of tea. Some people are better off in a commune or flat. Some people just have to fight and rebel against any sort of ‘forced’ hierarchy or dependence (but they do not realize that the whole world is based on this – the name of almost every game in the world is: adapt or die). I believe that I too will move into a commune someday, but that the things I learnt in my home in Pretoria will always stay with me, and I will always be grateful to have been given an in-depth course of time management, respect for others and being a gentleman and brothers I could always rely on (just to name a few).

We play sport together, we study together, and we party together!

Hallway

This is a photo of the corridor where I live. It looks bland, but it holds many memories, good and bad!

 

Hallway

 

Dark echoes bounce off of the walls:

This cacophonous stretched hallway

Burns brightly into keen ears

Igniting many unspoken, hidden fears

 

Light is but a glimmer of hope:

The worn out cliché that is seen

Winking in the death of night

Coaxing souls to resolve and fight

 

We all have our paths that wind

Through the filtering light of forest:

The grinning joy, crying sorrow

In which we sometimes wallow

 

Outstretched hand from the dark

Ignites spirit, hope: the way to light

We fight not alone, but in mass

Unto victory, but victory too in pass

 

August 2011 – Francois Hermanus Steyn

The Beacon

I count myself very fortunate and lucky to have taken this picture. It took hundreds of shots to get this perfect panning photo – thank goodness for digital! This was the first time I really practiced panning shots, and it paid off in the end. Sometimes it might seem that you’re ramming your head repeatedly into a wall, but just now and again you get that breakthrough you have been working so hard to achieve.

This picture reminded me of a poem I wrote in 2008.

 

The Beacon

 

This body; mine castle

Upon battlement my proud eye

The fiercer mine enemy

The darker mine cry

 

Nothing can touch this flesh

Arrows, fire of blade:

All is but blunt knives

Primitive, human-made

 

The protective shield is borne within

Harnessing unquenchable strength

From Life’s fountain flow,

Absolute breadth and absolute depth

 

This song is sweet to ears

Blooming in vitality, bringing tears

To the faces of hopeless men

Who hide in pitiful, lonely dens

Look upon this fortress!

Beacon of hope and prowess!

Let light fill your darkened holes

Seeping into your bottomless souls.

For we are the protectors of

This never-ending tale

And we shan’t set sail

‘till we succeed or fail.

 

Written 2008 – Francois Hermanus Steyn