Welcome

Cedric at different agesCedric Radcliffe Mayson died on 23rd May 2015, aged 87, after a life spent fighting for freedom and equality for all.

When Former President Thabo Mbeki spoke at Cedric’s funeral, he said:

I think it is important to tell his story…because frankly when I look around today, I see we don’t have many Cedrics among us. I don’t know why but we don’t.

Perhaps what we should do…is to tell this story, about Cedric, so that we can at least try to reproduce him. Reproduce younger Cedrics who are going to have to respond to challenges that we are facing. To respond to them with the same inventiveness, the same sense of an actual practical understanding of our reality. But respond to them also, with the kind of vision which Cedric had and with the same kind of selflessness….because I fear if we don’t have them – the younger Cedrics – then our future is very bleak indeed.

In the end, change (yes, we have support, change will come) must come from our own efforts. I do hope that we will all respond to this invitation, to tell the story of Cedric, which will help us produce the kind of South Africa that Cedric wanted.’

This website has been set up to preserve and promote Cedric’s legacy. It aims to provide a record of the crucial role he played in the struggle for liberation in South Africa, and an understanding of how he came to be the wise and passionate man he was. In doing so, we hope to encourage a new wave of Cedrics to take up the torch he has passed on to the next generation. We invite everyone to share their memories of this humble man who was an inspiration to so many.

We would love it if you could take some time to write down your memories of Cedric and email them to us for inclusion on the website.

We have started by posting just a few of the 300+ tributes sent to his family on the news of his death, some details from his funeral and a gallery of pictures. Please keep checking back for updates as this website will evolve and grow as more recollections are added.

We would also like to promote meaningful discussions and debate via the comments section of each article added. Please be respectful and don’t say anything you wouldn’t have said to Cedric over a glass of red!

Hamba kahle ‘qabane. Siyabonga ‘baba. Sizokukhumbula.

Everything on this website remains the copyright of http://www.cedricmayson.com 2015, except for the tributes and memories which remain the copyright of their individual writers and are reproduced here with their kind permission. Please contact us if you wish to reproduce anything found on http://www.cedricmayson.com

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One thought on “Welcome

  1. Great website. Congratulations all you young Cedric’s!

    Best wishes on your birthday Penelope!

    What we witness here Greece, described below, is a massive human tragedy, repeated everywhere else in the world. Geo-politics, mostly the deeds of the USA, are creating an ever less equal world.

    Tsonia, on the eastern side of the Isle of Lesbos, Greece – July 2015.

    Of refugees, of Greece and the EU, incongruence and a painting holiday.

    Anastasia’s family live here. They opened their homes and showed warm hospitality from the moment we arrived. Although nearly none of them speak English and we speak no Greek, they could not be more accommodating. Peter, Anastasia’s father explains that his family came from Asia Minor, today Turkey, in 1923. They, with 400,000 other Greeks were re-settled here after Greece had conducted a misguided war against Turkey during a phase of Greek nationalism, to build a greater Greece. Huge numbers of Turks were moved from the Aegean islands and settled where the Greeks had to leave.

    Turkey lies to the east, near enough to see the lights at night. Somewhere there is Gallipolli – the shore where tens of thousands of Australian and Turkish soldiers slaughtered each other exactly 100 years ago, in a futile battle.

    Peter is the second person since our arrival who is disenchanted with the German attitude about the EU’s conditions for repayment of Greek loans to the ECB. They say: we know we owe the money and we know we should not allow our Government to make scandalous loans ever again, that led to the biggest crises the neo-liberal dispensation imposed on the world yet. The man who talked to us on the bus yesterday put it this way: Don’t shoehorn us into behaving and living like Germans want to live. Our culture and our means to produce are very different. We will pay, but not under your conditions. – Christine and I agree wholeheartedly.

    Here in the cradle of intellectual discourse they are a relaxed and philosophical when they talk about the future. “We got sunshine and tomatoes …” When we got the bus from the airport to Piraeus, the day after the resounding ‘oxi’ vote, the X96 bus-diver beckoned us to get on. We wanted to pay the Euro5 fare but he is not interested. The man next to us helps us in English: There is a problem. It’s not clear whether we are in a Euro or Drachma economy; so its free! Even for tourists? Yes.

    The painting holiday that took us here was planned more than a year ago. Christine and friends from Cape Town, the UK and Stockholm, tutored by Anastasia, and the provision of her fathers beach chalets, seemed an ideal place to find artistic inspiration.

    We left home nearly 40 hours ago. The taxi waits for us at the port of Mytilini, the biggest town on Lesbos. He speaks no English and despite it being 1.30 in the morning, he is helpful and imparts information.

    We are still within the harbour precinct when he stops and points to a series of small tents and rows of people lying on a ledge next to some building clad in scaffolding. He says: Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan – and if we had prompted him he would have added Eritrea, Somalia, etc. He keeps repeating in English: big problem!

    Our attention is diverted to the ruins of ancient buildings – dating from Ottoman, Greek and earlier periods. All that is lit up evokes a relaxed, Mediterranean seaside place we know from typical postcards. There are also endless empty buildings, seemingly not built more than ten years ago. A collapsed economy built on IMF, World Bank, Lehman and other megalomaniac crimes, has left a trail of destruction.

    Our driver gesticulates in rapid succession, for the next hour’s drive, and 95% of it is to point out rows of bodies lying sleeping next to the roadside, and he repeats the words, Syria, Afghanistan. He points to the lights across the water on our right. Turkey, it seems, can be reached by rowing boat. The refugees have already crossed through Turkey at least, and maybe more countries. He stops his car and punches a number on the screen of his cell phone for us to see: 500 people are crossing to this island each night. “Big problem.”

    For the rest of the journey we see people either huddled together, wrapped in blankets seeking some sleep. That’s not all. We make out rows of people walking. The front and the last person hold a lantern, so they can be seen by passing motorists. As we pass villages, there are people sleeping in bus shelters and shop entrances etc. Our driver explains: The police have told them: no passport means no bus, no taxi, even if they want to pay. Hence, they are walking the 80 odd kilometres to Mytilini. Here they will be ‘processed’ and taken onward to Athens and then sent to whichever EU country will have them. We feel awkward and uncomfortable to come and have a holiday in a place where there is so much misery.

    In two places we see figures laying across most of the road, seemingly inviting to be hit by a passing car. Our driver swerves to avoid hitting them and he expresses a third English word: stupid! We cannot help feel these people are silently angry and want to be noticed. They need help, much more help than what lies ahead for them.

    Most those we see are young men, but there are women and children, several toddlers. Later Peter tells us that these refugees have caused no social problems; no theft, no demonstrations, no rape. These people have money and purchase food from local shops. Although there is no communication, the locals seem silently to accept the refugee’s presence.

    A day later, a hike to the nearby hamlet of Clio and it brings suffering and tragedy into focus again. On a stony town square lie ten bodies. Eight men and two women arrived by rubber dingy during the night. They scrambled ashore, found a road, found Clio. They have no luggage. Exhausted, in neat but dirty clothes, they sleep in the town square. The local bustle seems to ignore their presence.

    When Anton and I take another hike along the rocky shoreline we come across scores of life vests, several wrecked rubber inflatable boats, pairs of shoes, rucksacks with neatly packed clothes, packets of cigarettes with Turkish rather than Greek writing on them. More human tragedy is imprinted wherever we go. Life vests for babies and children. Shotgun casings also lie here. Could there be local vigilantes wanting to deter a landing? We see none of the refugees on this outing. After scrambling ashore, they abandon the tell-tale of life vests, possibly feeling victorious that they had in some way, breached bastion Europe’s border.

    Two in our group have a hire car. On a rough coastal road they come across scores of people who have just made it across the sea from Turkey; in broad daylight. Our friends give them what water they have with them. Then they see more people. They do several trips buying bottled water and take it to the new arrivals. One man asks if they can take their children to a place – any place with some shade. When our friends return in the evening they are upset and feel this is not a time and place to have a holiday.

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