Barry Eustice died last week and
Barry was well-known throughout
Barry was a role model, a demonstration of the spirit that can overcome the greatest of disabilities and was living proof that whatever fate throws at you there is always room for a smile. Well, in Barry’s case a load of smiles and a few beers as well.
I first grew to know him a decade ago as a regular in the bar at the President Hotel in
A few years ago my wife Kate and I were part of a large team of people that was helping Nomsa Mbere and her followers prepare for her walk across the Makgadikgadi Pans. In order to launch the walk publicly there was a gathering at the Maharaja and I persuaded Barry, as a famous walker, to come along and give everyone an uplifting talk. After a series of, I have to say, rather unexciting lectures up sprang Barry. Within minutes he had the audience eating out of his hand. There were stories of mishaps, accidents, women ending up topless and the occasional President who would come along to wish him well. It ended with Barry doing one of his party tricks. After a comedian’s warm-up he showed us how he could balance one of his crutches vertically on the palm of his hand. “See”, he said, “just because I’m disabled, it doesn’t mean I’m incapable!”
The last time I saw Barry I was sitting in a restaurant with a visitor from
Barry raised the profile of the disabled in
In an age of mortals, he was a hero.