PICS: Danny Oosthuizen’s legacy teaches us how to be more human
Cape Town - Family, friends and those who knew Cape Argus columnist Danny Oosthuizen gathered at St George’s Cathedral on Thursday to bid him a sad farewell.
Oosthuizen died in hospital on Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 50.
His niece, Melanie Clase, spoke fondly about how he would always put everyone else before himself.
“Our hearts are broken. Danny was full of love, he was an anchor in many of our lives and he had a laugh that would make anyone’s day. The Earth is going to be empty without him and his laugh,” she said.
Oosthuizen had enriched many people’s lives, she said.
In 2015, then Cape Argus Live editor Lance Witten and then editor Gasant Abarder recruited Oosthuizen to work on a project dealing with the homeless in Cape Town. His column became a focal point in the newspaper, as he wrote unashamedly about his experience living on the streets and how he came to terms with living with HIV and overcame drug addiction.
Over the past few months, Oosthuizen’s column dealt with him coming to terms with his terminal illness, the dietary advice he received from well-wishers and the loss of friendships. Oosthuizen had been in and out of Groote Schuur Hospital but on New Year’s Eve was admitted for the last time, spending his final days in Ward F16.
It was Oosthuizen’s fearlessness and his harsh criticism of the City’s treatment of the homeless that prompted it to start a Safe Space for the homeless under the Culemborg Bridge.
Witten said that Oosthuizen was full of wit and quirky humour.
“Danny was one of the most difficult people to speak to. He was very guarded and cautious, but when he opened up, the love that he had for a small person! Danny was brave, he was fearless,” Witten said on Thursday.
Reverend of the Methodist Church Alan Storey ended the service by challenging the authorities to fulfil one of Oosthuizen’s greatest objectives - to provide all-hours public toilets and potable water for homeless people of the city.
Speaking of Oosthuizen’s bravery, he said: “Suffering can make us hard and bitter and resentful, suffering can enclose us, or suffering can break us open, make us feel more.
“For Danny, he allowed the suffering of his life to open his heart for the world. To feel more and not less, and by doing so he opened our hearts to feel more. First, he opened our hearts to him and secondly, he opened them to others that he introduced us too.”
Oosthuizen had left behind possibly the greatest gift any human being could give to another human being - the gift of teaching us to be more human, more compassionate and to humanise the marginalised, Storey said.@MarvinCharles17