My father, Jock Isacowitz, died 50 years ago today. He was in his mid-forties when he died and I was not yet 10. In a very real way, my life has been influenced by the absence of a father, rather than the presence. The same goes for my sister and brother; we all grew up with a void, where there should have been a father. The icon that he became after his death was no substitute; perhaps it was even a burden.
In an obituary to my father, one of his political colleagues (I forgot who) wrote that, had my father’s politics been different, he could have been prime minister of South Africa. That was stretching things a little far, I think, but it did testify to his personal qualities and the strong impression he made on many people. By all accounts, he was a remarkable man.