Jock Dummer (class of ’64) passed away from acute liver failure this morning. His daughter had warned me that his illness was terminal but it was still very saddening to get the news. He was 72.
I met Jock in 1961 when we were both in the same Rosedale dormitory. From then on we seemed fated to misspend the next few years together.
In 1965 we independently enrolled for Chem. Eng. at UCT – and together bunked off sufficient lectures that we both dropped out at the end of the year.
Jocks dad suggested computer programming (his company was hiring programmers) and, although neither Jock nor I got jobs there, we both got programming jobs in 1966 – Jock in the Cape and me in Johannesburg.
1966/1967 Jock moved with his job to Johannesburg.
1968 we both started receiving ominous signs from the SA defence forces (“prepare yourself for a medical examination”). Within weeks we were on a Union Castle liner to England where we applied for immigration at the Canadian Embassy. (It turned out that they didn’t want computer programmers. Did they know what they were? What they wanted were bus drivers!)
1968 to 1972 we shared a number of London flats – Kilburn, Gloucester Road ending up in a large flat in Earls Court which we shared with a South African community. (John Langenegger ’64 was a frequent visitor.)
1972 we both made extended trips to the continent – Jock with, amongst others, John Langenegger – me with a couple of Capetonians. End of the year we met up in Barcelona and sailed back to the Cape with Lloyd Triestino. (For various reasons the threat of the SA military had abated.)
1973 Jock, I and three other refugees from Earls Court set up house in Johannesburg.
One night in 1974 Jock and one of said refugees got drunk in the Rand International Hotel and decided that sailing around the world was the thing to do. Next night they got me drunk and I woke up in the morning to the news that I’d agreed that we were buying a yacht.
The house broke up, we all moved back to parents homes – Jock and our friend to the Cape, me in Johannesburg – and saved every cent we could. (Most of my salary was sent to the Cape and I lived by topping it up with money that I won playing bridge with old ladies in a bridge club run by the uncle of Peter Lewy ’64.)
1975 we bought a 50 year old yacht, I took navigation lessons at the Johannesburg Technical College and got a Marine Radio Operators License and we decided that we’d start our trip with the Cape to Rio Race.
1976 we set sail for Rio. One week into the race Jock decided that he could not live without the girl he’d left behind. A week after we arrived in Rio Jock took a plane back to SA (didn’t even wait for the Rio Carnival.) Sadly, Jock had been dumped in his absence. Fortunately, he was caught on the rebound by Elaine who he subsequently married.
The remaining partner and I sailed on but our friendship did not survive 6 months in a living space about the size of a bathroom and with less privacy. In Trinidad we sold the boat.
Over the decades since then Jock and I have seen less of each other. Jock has had his family – his wife, a son, two lovely daughters and several grandchildren. My wife and I have moved from SA to Australia, Belgium and France. From time to time we’ve visited each other and usually sent emails a couple of times a year.
It’s been the longest friendship I’ve had and I could not have asked for a better companion for the travels of my youth.
Allan Morris ‘64