A tribute by his son Jeremy to a man who meant much to many in the Fish Hoek community
On behalf of Lindsay, Angela, Michael, and all our family and friends, it is a great honour to share some highlights of the life and character of Clive Anthony Wakeford.
Clive was born in Fish Hoek on 29th May 1940 to Albert and Pearl Wakeford, parents who set a high moral standard and provided him with a rock solid foundation. He attended Muizenberg Primary School and Rondebosch Boys High School, where he kept a rather low profile. In fact it was there that he became the butt of many jokes, acquiring the nickname “Stompie” (despite not being much of a smoker).
In the early 50s Clive and his brother Doug were members of the First Fish Hoek Sea Scouts and later the Sea Rovers, forging lifelong friendships with the likes of Brian Sturman, Clive Duffell and Hylton Ross. We kids were regaled with epic narratives of night-time hikes across bushy terrain and even scarier early attempts at braaing sausages.
After matriculating, Clive spent a year in the Naval Gymnasium at Saldanha Bay, where he cultivated old and new friendships that have endured to this day. At that stage he was keen on a life at sea, but as he put it, his maths wasn’t up to it – which proved very fortunate for my siblings and me.
Instead, Clive joined his father and brother in the family business; together they established Wakefords Furnishers reputation as a quality store with excellent service. Mr Clive was ever-popular amongst the staff and clientele of Wakefords, always willing to meet people’s needs or listen to customers’ tribulations.
His charming, friendly nature was on show one day when a vivacious young woman on holiday in Fish Hoek from Darkest Africa came into the shop. Lindsay intended to buy a plug, but instead came away with a record player. It wasn’t long before Clive began courting Lindsay, taking her to all manner of weird and wonderful lifesaving parties.
In return, Clive learned to dance; a dance that lasted 44 years and grew stronger with time. Clive’s calm, unflappable nature complemented Lindsay’s passionate spontaneity. Their steadfast commitment to each other bridged differences in personality and interests, and together they found a balance that provided inspiration to many. Dad showed his love for Mom in simple ways, like his willingness to rearrange furniture at the drop of a hat, his quiet way of doing practical jobs, and above all his presence as the “uncarved block”.
The couple had three children: Angela, Michael and Jeremy. Ange always shared a special bond with Dad, and managed to extract more from his interior depths than anyone else, by sheer force of will. She appreciates his constancy: one always knew what to expect from him, and always had fun times together. Mike has much in common with Dad, including a love of the sea and a relaxed nature. Dad was ever keen to hear about Mike’s surfs, and provided a role model at work and in life, especially in his fairness and Mr Fixit abilities. To me Dad provided a reassuring and calming presence, always insisting that I’d do well in my studies. I particularly appreciated doing many hiking trips with Dad, including the Whale Trail just over a year ago.
Especially in the years we lived in Rondebosch, Dad and Mom took in a long string of lodgers and acted as surrogate parents to many. To quote our great friend Anston, “as something of an adopted child, I often felt Clive’s steady hand on the family and his warm interest in what everyone in his clan was up to. There was a beautiful simplicity about how he lived that calmed and inspired me and many others.”
Pops doted on his two gorgeous, bright grand-daughters, Jade and Lima. Spending time with them always brought a beaming smile to his face and much joy to his heart. They will always carry his tender warmth in their hearts.
Stompie’s other marriage was to the Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club. Again with Doug, he was one of the founding members of club, served as club captain for two years, chairman for five years and as president from 1976 until death parted them. He also sat for many years on the provincial and national lifesaving bodies (and later resuscitated them). Just four months ago he was awarded the South African Lifesaving Association’s highest award: a Meritorious Award for Outstanding Service to Lifesaving. Stompie was also a keen competitor, winning many provincial and national medals, as well as three World Cup medals, including a bronze in the beach flags event in Alexandria, Egypt in October last year. Stompie and Doug enjoyed a lifelong, good-spirited rivalry with on sea and beach, and were also staunch team mates from club up to national level.
Stomps also moonlighted as a hooker for Villagers Rugby Club for many years, until he outlasted the ‘old crocks’ team (oops, hope that wasn’t offsides).
Another great passion was sports cars – Dad was a loyal member of the MG Car Club and won many awards with Mom in the annual “concours d’elegance” competitions; not to mention various appearances in drag in the “concours de comique”.
Clive, a.k.a ‘Mr Fish Hoek’, was dedicated to serving his community, a role model for many of us.
From the late 1950s he was a voluntary member of the Fish Hoek Fire Brigade, and regaled us with hair-raising tails such as being lowered through the roof of a burning Tudor House, a testament to his selfless bravery.
For many years he sat on the Fish Hoek Chamber of Commerce, holding a number of different portfolios including chairman and president. He was a co-founder of the Fish Hoek City Improvement District, and served as president and treasurer over the past decade. He served a term as Fish Hoek’s Ward Councillor on the South Peninsula Municipality, preferring action to politics. Mr Fish Hoek helped establish the Fish Hoek Home Nursing Association, serving as trustee and chairman. He was a board member of the False Bay Hospital, although he never let his boredom show in meetings. He was also board member of the Fish Hoek Association for the Welfare of the Elderly, a trustee of the Fish Hoek Music Bursary Trust, and chairman of the Fish Hoek Valley Museum. Mr Fish Hoek’s dedication to his community can inspire us all to work together in the years ahead as our society undertakes the challenging transition to sustainability.
But it was who Clive was, rather than what he did, that really mattered. In the pithy words of my Aunt Wendy, Clive “had a short body but a tall soul”. A number of qualities stand out.
Clive was eternally optimistic, stubbornly believing things would always turn out for the best.
He was incredibly generous, supporting the extended family financially, practically and morally.
He gave so much to his children, starting with the best schooling money could buy, putting Mike and me through university, and helping all three siblings to buy cars and properties. He took us on awesome holidays overseas and to safari parks. But more importantly, Dad was generous with his time and energy. He taught his children to surf and to drive. When Ange was going through a rough patch in England, Dad flew over to support her with quiet listening and all manner of practical jobs in her flat. Dad took Mike and his buddy Drew on several surfing safaris down the southern Cape coast, allowing them the freedom to party it up in Plett. During our Rondebosch years Dad played marathon tennis matches with me, and regular table-tennis and darts got me through many exams periods. He almost single handedly moved Jacqui and my household out to our farm, driving Wakefords trucks and vans up and down the N2. Dad was a fantastic handy-man, and would make or fix just about anything, often without being asked. Dad and Mom were wonderful in facilitating parties for us, opening the house (and even the booze cabinet) to our friends and providing braais, cakes and service with smiles. At my cousin Sharon’s 21st birthday party, Clive literally gave her the shoes off his feet so that she could stand on a milk crate to give her speech without toppling off. He graciously lent his MG to various friends and family members over the years, a sign of his trusting nature. Dad would always go the extra mile, like when he and Mike drove Elias’s body up to the Eastern Cape and shared in the community funeral.
Clive was gregarious and a great party-goer, albeit sometimes to the minor embarrassment of his children. As his good friend Grenville said to me the other day, Clive was always ready to have a beer and a good time with his mates. Stomps was humorous and fun-loving, notorious for his puns (some better than others). He was always ready to laugh uproariously at his own jokes or even at himself.
Anston said the mischievous side of Clive was one of his favourite facets of the man. He was especially surprised and tickled by how proud Dad became of the chocolate brownies he baked, and how his eyes would glaze over when he was savouring them!
Clive was wonderfully easy-going, his relaxed demeanour putting one instantly at ease. He was contented with and accepting of himself, which allowed him to accept others as they are.
Clive was eternally youthful. More than once, he was mistaken for my sister’s older brother; and when he turned 70 last year, a neighbour remarked that he had the body of a 50-year old. He retained a child-like enthusiasm and lightness throughout his life. If you type in “clive” on a cellphone using predictive text, you get “alive” – and that for me sums up the man: enjoying life to the full.
Clive was an eminently peaceful person, unburdened by the mental clutter that afflicts many of us. My Mom once asked him what he thought about as he swept his garage. His simple answer – “sweeping the garage”- displays a rare ability to live fully in the present moment. That was also exemplified in his frequent ski paddles in Fish Hoek bay, his ultimate way of relaxing. Clive’s transition to the next life was just as peaceful, with a wonderful smile adorning his face as his soul departed his body.
So Mr Fish Hoek, Stompie, Pops, Dad, Clivey – we will treasure all the happy memories and honour your vibrant Spirit today and forever more. We love you.