Family and friends celebrate the life of Ronnie Govender

By Karen Singh Time of article published May 4, 2021

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DURBAN - THE grandson of the late South African playwright, activist and author Sathieseelan Gurulingum “Ronnie” Govender said he had a knack for raising consciousness, fearlessness and joy through his writing and works.

Karlind Govender was speaking at his grandfather’s funeral service at the Maitland Crematorium Chapel in Cape Town yesterday. Due to Covid-19 regulations, the service was streamed virtually to friends and family.

Govender, 85, was born in Cato Manor in Durban, and had moved to Cape Town last year.

Govender’s son Pat said his father, who had developed agerelated dementia, had lived with him for the past 12 months. Govender died last Thursday. Pat said this was a sad time for friends and family, especially because Covid-19 meant they could not gather together to celebrate Ronnie’s life.

“Covid has made painful moments even more painful, but we are grateful that we can have many of his friends and family join us virtually,” he said.

Pat said his father had touched many people and that he wanted his life to be a source of happiness.

“Today we will celebrate his amazing role and legacy as a writer, story teller, activist and fiercely devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather, among others.

“We will endeavour to use our pain to help change the world – just like you did, Dad,” he said.

He added that the family would miss his father’s sense of humour, sharp wit and many heated debates about local sport, especially cricket and soccer.

“Our home will be a much quieter place now, Dad, we will miss you.”

The family proposed that instead of sending flowers, people should donate to Dementia SA or the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust.

Karlind said: “Through his creativity, theatre productions, books and activism, my grandfather brought issues to the fore.

“He had the deft knack of raising consciousness, fearlessness and joy through his writing and works.”

Anyone who read his books or watched his plays could attest to this, he said.

“My grandfather was a brilliant writer who also educated his grandchildren to be aware of the type of writing that discriminates and oppresses and the power it has to destroy,” said Karlind.


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