FROM BIRTH TO RE-BIRTH (1975 -1993)
1. FIRST EIGHTEEN YEARS
Born in Dec 1975 - the year of the Dragon and the year television was first introduced into South Africa. Spent the first 13 years of my life living in a suburb called Summerstrand and absolutely loved the neighbourhood. Spent my entire 12 years of schooling at Grey High School (from sub A to standard 10 - please dont ask me to convert this into grades...)
I loved to play all sorts of sports at school but I excelled at golf and tennis. I enjoyed the competitiveness of these individual sports but quite honestly I was most happy playing team sports like cricket and hockey.
I loved school simply because I did not feel any pressure from peers, parents or teachers to become someone I was not. While I never really stood out in a crowd, this was my saving grace. This allowed me the freedom myself to learn more about myself and what I wanted from life.
in hindsight, growing up in PE in the '80s and '90s was incredible as it was a time of national and global change happening around us - PW Botha, the Rubicon speech, Mandela being freed, the Berlin wall falling while the cold war come to an end.
The one memory of the unrest in SA at the time was the confusion and uncertainty when Chris Hani was murdered as I started my matric year in 1993.
I remember receiving my papers that same year to indicate where I would need to do my national service - only to get another official government letter later on that year to say that military conscription was no longer compulsory.
While I maintain that I had the most spectacularly enjoyable and fulfilling time at Grey High School in P.E, i think I would like to make a point that, having achieved half colours for academics, I trully loved playing golf.
With so many talented golfers of the same age around me, I simply enjoyed the comraderie and competition.
I never lost my love for tennis, although continually losing to my nemesis, Rich Bulbring . While I can excuse myself knowing that Mr Bulbring did become, and still is, a tennis pro, I count one of my most memorable moments of my teens at the Davis Stadium tennis court when I took my one and only set off Rich
( I have in the 30 odd years since wondered if in fact, he gave me the set out of pity, but Ill take it !)
Having matriculated in 1993, and upon the news that the national conscription to the defense force was abandoned upon the release of MADIBA unbanning of the ANC, my father gave me the option of going to university in 1994 OR ( as was common in the 1990s...) to take a year off and travel Europe. The UK in particular was mainly where South African kids like to disappear to for a year, but for me - having realised that I was not your average South African teenager, opted for a slightly different approach.
Having spent five years in the suburb of Walmer in PE, I befriended a lot of the local Jewish community as the private Jewish school, Theodore Hertzl, was just down the road for where we lived. Through these much treasured friendships, I was pursuaded to spend some time on a Kibbutz in Israel....possibly the best decision I could have made at the time. The year spent in the Middle East was what I still consider the most important year of my young life till then.
While I was born in the 1970's - a decade of immense political and economic tension, my parents did a fantastic job providing the four kids with pretty much everything we needed. It is absolutely NO exaggeration when I say that each of us (I have a younger and an older sister, as well as an older) have always been different in our interests, attitudes, goals and outlook of life. My sister, Kitty, and I had an incredible relationship while growing up as we were born only 18 months apart. She was the social butterfly and I was her nerd brother...but it proved to be a very successful match as we complimented and supported each other through our difficult teens.Caroline is my oldest sister born more than five years before me - the best big sister you could hope for. I only wish we had more time to spend in each others company but that's the one life goes. I am grateful for the technological age and social media that makes the vast difference between Cape Town and the US seem a lot shorter and more manageable. As a Physio who left SA in the mid 90's, she has married the most amazingly kind and gentle man in 2000. I am also proud to have a nephew in the States who every year warms my heart as he lives his life as I could only wish everyone to - with love and respect for his earthly parents but a dedication and commitment to his heavenly Father. Joshua also is not afraid to be himself - kinda does the things I did when I was his age !Greg, like Caroline was a good few years older than me and the age difference did make it a little tricky for us to connect as brothers. That said, that we grew up with vastly different goals and ambitions in life although we dont get the opportunity to spend as much time together as we would like.