Saturday, May 30, 2009


To us, they’ve always been Clive’nGay – an indivisible twosome - and in that spirit, I’d like to add a few words to Ingrid Wolfaardt’s in honour of the van Hasselts and as a tribute to Clive from our family.

We met Clive’nGay in 1993 when we bought Dennehof. As an urban émigré, accustomed to Cape Town reserve, I was completely captivated by their casual, easygoing hospitality, kindness and generosity. I began to understand the real meaning of “salt of the earth.”

I think we all loved Clive’s signature jerseys with frayed, holey elbows, and the familiar sight of Clive’nGay and family arriving at Chris Vis in their sheepskin slippers for supper. But that didn’t stop me from sometimes also visualising Clive in a dinner jacket – he would have looked magnificent. I think the only time I ever saw him “dressed up” was at one of Tessa’s dinner parties.

Once, when he asked me – with that small, inscrutable smile of his - to do a quick writing job for him, he was so modest that it was years before I found out it was for a huge event: he’d won yet another international mohair award, and been invited to visit Italy as a guest of Ermenogilda Zegna – a name that belongs in the upper stratosphere of global fashion.

We loved his stories, expansive, rambling tales that usually ended with a laugh at his own expense. He gave his time generously, and lavished praise where it was due. When he decided you were his friend, it was not negotiable. For his employees who called him “Seur” the term conveyed a deep respect.

But that affable exterior was occasionally deceptive and anyone who tangled with him on issues of ethics and integrity came off worst. Clive seemed to me one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met –comfortable, as they say, in his own skin.

To have had Clive’nGay as neighbours and friends for 16 years has been a privilege.
And even though his large, comforting, amiable presence is no longer here, it will always be Clive’nGay in our very fond memories.

The Hurford Family

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