Oom Sam Lwayipi Eulogy 17 August 2013

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Written by Sandy Ueckermann, Executive Director of TSiBA Eden

I felt privileged and honoured to be asked by the Lwayipi family to give a eulogy at Oom Sam’s funeral on 17 Aug 2013. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people - from politicians, to clergy, to academics, and mostly, to the people he worked for on the ground. Lwayipi Sam is/was known as a Social activist and a Community Leader in the Southern Cape. He stood for the rights of all and was active in politics from the ‘60s – when it was dangerous and socially-isolating to be so. His CV and achievements for social equality are legendary. By for me, my relationship with Oom Sam was personal.

I met Lwayipi Sam in 2007 when he and his wife, Emily, were the Hostel Parents of the then-Eden Campus. Lwayipi Sam was a co-founder of Eden Campus. But it wasn’t until 2008 that I really got to know the person that I began to appreciate as the Leader, activist, visionary and Father that Oom Sam was. He had a big dream for a small rural Southern Cape Town: to work together with all the fragmented factions of the town to establish a tertiary Business school for all – especially those who had not had access before. It was a clear vision for the future of the region’s children and their children.

In 2008 that dream almost came to an end when Eden Campus nearly closed. In that time, Oom Sam was my pillar of strength. He worked tirelessly, visiting and campaigning stakeholders in government and the community and region, to do everything from not allowing that to happen. He gave me the courage to fight alongside him and often in the darkest moments, over a cup of tea, he would assure me that we would overcome. His words were always considered and wise and practical. I took strength and direction from that and I believed him and trusted him.

In 2009 Eden Campus amalgamated with TSiBA and has thrived and grown since. This is no small part due to Oom Sam’s tenacity, resilience and passion. I am grateful that in Lwayipi Sam’s lifetime, in 2012, we had the privilege to aptly name our newly-established Community Skills development Centre after him.

TSiBA will miss you, Oom Sam. The community and Greater Knysna will miss you. South Africa will miss a true leader. I will miss a friend, a mentor, someone who encouraged and believed- a Father.
Your vision stands and I know you will be proud of the socially-conscious leaders TSiBA puts out there in the world. People like you – who ignite opportunity and go on to forge positive social change. People who see no colour or gender or creed or social class – only potential for all!

Shala gashle. Tot Siens, Tata.

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