Here’s how it works: Thirty-some years ago I was invited to a wonderful gathering with great friends Dave & Goldie who’d just had twins to add to their Tatum. There was good food thanks to Goldie and lots of beer which Dave may have had something to do with. Also there was something in a church, I dunno why, but hey! Did I mention the food and beer?
Turns out childless, clueless me had said something in church that was actually a lifelong commitment! I had joined the Mafia become a Godfather! I immediately set about neglecting my duties, but when the twins started performing terrifically in the famous Dusi Canoe Marathon I mumbled Them’s My Godsons and got told to shurrup.
But now! NOW! Googs has just run the famous Comrades Marathon in the insanely quick time of 7hrs 14mins – over 15mins inside silver medal time! So once again I step forward out of the shadows. Although claiming some influence on his good performance, I did mention that I hadn’t won my Comrades when I ‘did it’ back when we wore heavy hobnailed boots and hand-knitted vests.
Being the gentleman he is, Googs sms’d me back: Chuffed you are back to claim godfathership! Glad I could lure you back from retirement.
Less than a week later I became a Granpa for the first time. Ziggy had a baby boy on Saturday!
Tom is claiming godfathership! Knowing Zig she probly did confer the honour on him! He’s super-chuffed. Will prolly walk around with his chest out and do nothing, just like his father before him. **Some people!**
Steve Camp has produced another wonderful Dusi record – ‘Adventures on an African River’ – 70 years of the Dusi Canoe Marathon. Lots of info, magnificent pictures.
. . which was a pic of the start to one of my Dusis taken by sister Sheila, who seconded me that year.
They have sourced many terrific pics, old and new, black and white and colour:
Of course, as big Umko fans we can’t resist the usual banter. We have to ask the Dusi ous in these next three iconic Dusi pics: “Hey, guys. Where’s the river?’
Get your copy of this wonderful book here – only R200. Believe me, that’s a bargain. We have just had a hardcover book printed at R680 a copy. Steve Camp must have had a much larger print run plus sponsorship to sell this so low. AND for only R100 extra, you can get your own picture on the cover!
Looking at the 2016 Dusi results I see the first finisher who, if I bumped into him, would say ‘Howzit Swanie’ or ‘Howzit Pete’ came in 93rd !!
Getting old! Gone are the days when I knew most of the top ten!
Another observation – 13 of the top 20 had African surnames. Wonder how the anti-Affirmative-Action boys would explain that away? I would bet good money if they (we!) were asked beforehand ‘What sports are Africans likely to do well in if given a chance?’ few would have suggested Dusi paddling!
Also: The first lady finisher came in 30th! Shades of Frith vd Merwe in the Comrades! And in both those events we used to ban them from even participating – ‘to protect them’ – to protect ourselves from getting our arses whipped, it turns out!
Yesterday a past Dusi and Umko winner phoned me about his eyes. I asked him if he was planning to do anything stupid in March.
He is. He is about to do his 51st consecutive Umko canoe marathon, the most exciting of all the river marathons! The reason? He has done 50 but he has only finished 49. He broke his boat back in 1970 and didn’t finish that one.
Fukkit!! So he wants to do his 50th finish.
He said to me ‘You should do it too, you know’. I said no ways, I’m too slow. He said ‘We paddle quite slowly these days you know’ (he won the very first Umko back in 1966).
I said you don’t understand. My slow includes frequent stops, and a lot of resting on my paddle and checking the scenery. He understood that was slower even than him and other 70yr-olds.
He’s going off to have his intra-ocular lens implants laser-‘polished’. All the better to read the rapids. Those Umko Cataracts need clear Ocular Cataracts.
It’s bullshit. He wasn’t ready. He wasn’t finished. He wasn’t even close to wrapping up all the things he still planned to do – even after doing so much.
Damn! Too soon.
A very special human being.
Ernie’s wake will be held in Ernie’s Pub in Kingfisher Canoe Club on the banks of the Umgeni River in Durban. You KNOW you have led a really wonderful life when you’re going to be saluted in a pub named after you while you were still in your prime by your mates!
Ernest Alder – 17/08/1942 – 21/01/2018
Also, that I know of:
He was involved in the Caister old age home while his Mom was there;
He owned a holiday home on a game farm up north, adjoining Mkhuze.
It is with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of Ernie Alder! There are very few truly selfless individuals, those that give of their time beyond what could ever be expected without seeking reward or adulation! Ernie you will, for me, always be synonymous with KCC and there will never be a time, driving in to the car park, that I do not look for your vehicle, your welcoming smile or your loudhailer! Rest in peace my friend, you did so much to assist me in my time as chairman and for the numerous chairs before and those that came after. Your legacy will forever be intertwined with the history of KCC and you will be sorely missed at the club and along the many riverbanks and boat pounds across the country!
A gentleman, a gentle man! We will miss you – Elvis Kingfisher