Chip off the old block

Mark Kleinscmidt, ward 60 councillor

I had the wonderful honour of working with the first lead tenor of colour, the late Ronald Theys who died in 2014.

We met at Spes Bona High in Athlone in 1977, performing Shakespeare’s, The Tempest, starring Denise Newman as Miranda, Alexander Sinton High English teacher Robert Green as Prospero, and Reggie Norris as Caliban, and again the following year at the Eoan Group performing in the production of, A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

Ronnie, an opera tenor of note was cast in roles with myself. He lived in Mitchell’s Plain and worked for Montays Furnishers. His love for opera never waned, despite the adversities of apartheid while growing up in District Six, and he proudly educated me in his craft and the Eoan Group’s historical visit to Europe with my cousin, soprano singer Vera Gow.

He was a prankster too, and I enjoyed his humour. My last encounter with him was in London in July 1998, when he was invited with his tenor colleagues to perform in Brighton.

I’m proud of his son, Nathan’s epic achievement of winning the prestigious Cape Town International Film Market Festival, and Ronnie would have been equally proud.

May Nathan’s film be successful and Ronnie’s memory live long. A befitting tribute to his legacy.