The loss of someone close to you has effects which are hard to describe with words on a page. Mostly, everything can only be communicated through holding someone close to express one’s grief. And tears, lots of tears the result of tumultuous emotions boiling inside you and randomly surfacing.
How do I describe this man? Because if you ask anyone at all about him you will know that he was more than any one label, he truly was a legend. I have never seen a funeral procession that big, nor the mix of black, white, indian, poor, rich, Muslim, non-Muslim and other categories of people all uniting in grief over this one man, my father in-law, Riaz Jamal.
The change he had facilitated in Durban, and the whole of South Africa and beyond, not only with his ideas and vision, but his way of dealing with people is a lesson on life and living I can only hope to emulate. You could not know him and not love him and deeply respect him.
He treated everyone right and according to their level of understanding and gave them what they needed, not necessarily what they wanted. Just trying to know what people really need is sometimes a hard feat on its own, yet he both did it and delivered.
How can I even communicate this sense of loss I feel? And I was not even the closest to him yet I feel like I’ve lost a part of me.
Can you imagine how it must feel for those who’ve lived almost their entire lives with him? Watching him slip away, and there’s nothing you can do about it?
It’s heart-breaking… But everybody has their time. I’m grateful for what little time I spent with him, for the things he’s taught me. He had achieved some major goals he had hoped to achieve including completely transforming the school where he was a principal and the community around it, forever.
Radio Al-Ansaar, now a staple on the KZN media scene would not be the amazing media source it now is if it wasn’t for him… The permanent licence it now has would not be there without him… and these were only two of the so many things he had done personally with people and on a larger scale through the organisations he worked with.
I can only hope to be half the man he was, but I plan to try. To do things the way he had done them to achieve some of my own goals before I too have to leave this world. A lot of people have the dream to leave this world a little better than when they found it. Riaz Jamal had done this on every level of his life… personally, in his community, and through the work he had done in various organisations.
The sense of loss and how much I miss him cannot be described. I’m just grateful for getting to know him for a little while and learning what it is to be a real man… An example of which very few people remain.