Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tribute to Clive

11 October 1955 – 5 April 2009

- Ingrid Wolfaardt -

Clive, you’re my man. There is no one who can and will ever beat you in the ‘Olive Pip Spitting’ stakes, not even the biggest bellows in the world would or could move an olive pip the way you used to do.

I thought my husband was the king of the castle, king of the olive grove, king of kicking arse and so confidently, without a thought that anyone could beat him at it, I offered a weekend at Sun City (falsely and under pretence) for anyone who could spit a pip further than Camel man himself. The manne of the dorp took on the challenge, beginning their enthusiastic but futile attempts at quite a distance from the start line, dropping down on their haunches, their overalls rolled up above their knees like you do in the hundred meter dash, bottoms up and chins out, sucking in their cheeks, drawing air into their lungs, they came at a drunken gallop to the line, stretching out their throats like ostriches and spat, to find the pip dropping at their feet in a show that can only be called comic.

And I rallied the crowd to greater heights increasing the prize to include limitless gambling and free drinks on the house and the crowds kept coming until you, Clive, sauntered down from where you had just judged little, minor, mini, Miss Olyfie and all, in the main street and you took an olive, leisurely rolling it in your mouth, waiting for the wanna-be manne to give you a chance at it and then you casually stood at my line drawn in the dust, feet apart, hands on hips and blew that pip, well, quite moer toe. I had forgotten your water polo days and that there was a pair of lungs hiding under that shirt that would give any deep sea diver a go for his money. Your pip flew through the air, meters and meters, over the heads of the gob-smacked onlookers landing way past any other - we had to run and search for it amongst the grass and you simply smiled and said to me, “I can’t wait to receive my prize.”

Clive, nothing sums you up more than that incident in the early days of the Olive Festival, charming, warm and welcoming, large of personality, large of intellect, large of laughter and life, to match your large physical presence. I will miss you greeting me at the Dairy as though I was the most important person to have ever put their foot in there.

Forgive me for never giving you your prize; my hope is that wherever you find yourself, will make my prize look like Mickey Mouse.

Clive van Hasselt passed away during a rare Prince Albert thunderstorm on Sunday afternoon, 5 April, after a courageous battle against acute myeloid leukaemia.

Clive was born in Johannesburg and educated at Michaelhouse and Elsenberg College. Unlike his parents and three siblings who chose medicine as professions, he was always passionate about farming. His enthusiastic pursuit of his vision and his hard work saw him become one of the top Angora goat breeders in the country and a moving force in the mohair industry in South Africa. His expertise in the field was acknowledged worldwide and he was frequently invited to judge at shows abroad.

Clive leaves his wife, Gay and children, Frances, Jordi, Eugene and Jean, his mother, Greta, and siblings, Andrew, James and Gill, who remember and celebrate his memory. We’ll miss you, Clive.

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