Goodbye Jack

img_8542I’d like to use this little piece of cyber space to say goodbye to a most spectacular man. Jaco Botha, Whaco-Jacko, the friendliest “big bad wolf”.

Without him I may never have started writing. He was my very first mentor, and together with our friend Anje Rautenbach (of Going Somewhere Slowly), he encouraged me to put pen to paper and my fingers to the keyboard and get started.

Jaco was my mentor and my colleague. He was my friend. He gave me writing assignments, constructive criticism, and most importantly, his time. He believed in me before I did.

Jaco was exceptional. Born with only 5% vision he lived a life unlike any of us could imagine. And yet he always saw the most important things, the curve of  a lady’s leg, for example, and the good in people, their potential and their talent. In spite of his disability, he lived a life packed with adventure and he always had a good story to tell, or to sing, with his guitar and his cigarette in hand. He was an accomplished writer and he achieved more in his too-short lifetime than many of us perfectly sighted individuals ever will.

I am not even going to try to give a proper description of him, I don’t think I am up to the job and I fear I wouldn’t do him justice. One thing I will say for him though is that he was kind. He had a soft heart and he always had time for everyone.

For a year or two I drove you to work every morning and home every evening, and in that time you peppered my and my children’s lives with stories, songs and lots of kindness. To say that you will be missed is an understatement. You have left a Jaco shaped hole in the world and we will always remember you smiling, laughing, singing and causing good natured mischief.

I am grateful to have been lucky enough to spend your last sunny Sunday morning on the beach with you. If I had known it would be your last I might have insisted we stay a little longer, maybe had another cup of coffee.

Go well my friend. May you find great new adventures.

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