Conversations about Recognition

We were out to dinner with some friends last night and the chef was one of Ines’ patients from about two years back. Ines had never been to Vintage India but knew she worked there and looked for her to say hello. They both recognised each other. But that’s not the kind of recognition I am talking about.

I’m talking about the kind where you are acknowledged as a human being for all that you are, by another human being.

My father attained recognition in many ways. He was acknowledged leader in many circumstances, both officially and unofficially. He was acknowledged by the Greek communities in South Africa, by the Greek Church, by his children’s schools and by SAHETI. He remained Honorary Life President of the Federation of Hellenic Communities of South Africa and Honorary Vice-Life President with George Bizos at Honorary Life President of SAHETI.

At my humble high school his name is immortalised on the main sports field stadium. The Peter Stathoulis Stadium has quite a story to it. He was driving past the old Ellis Park Rugby Stadium in Johannesburg as they were demolishing it in 1979 to make way for the new one that eventually hosted the Rugby World Cup Final in 1995, which we both attended.  At that time the sports fields at my six year old high school had just attained the status of non gravel with some grass and were a poor sight for visiting school. There were a few simple scaffolds that made up the grandstands, all of 6 rows, with a sand slope down to the main rugby and athletics field.

My father had the vision to buy the steel structure of the main stadium of the old Ellis Park as scrap (remember, these were the days before Chinese consumption) and stored it until he could organise engineers and contractors to erect the stadium at the high school. When I as a school athlete I ran at many schools. I always noted the names of the stadiums, if any. Some seemed political appointments, most I had no idea. But I bet you none of those stadiums have a history like the one at my school. It is wonderful that his name is emblazoned on the corrugated iron cladding that rises up on the back, on a metal framework that witnessed great matches at the home of Transvaal Rugby.

We had a really good dinner and were brought complimentary sweets in recognition of Ines’ professionalism and caring. Then when we called for the bill there was a slight delay and the manager came out and said “there’s no charge for tonight. Thank you for coming, and it’s our thanks to the doctor here for caring for our aunty”.

That is true recognition.

Vintage India, Durban Sunset

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