He was a storyteller who rewrote the narrative to reclaim the history of those enslaved and indentured, in ways that resonated universally. He wrote to free himself and to free us.
Dad, you played with life in the theatre of this world. You woke before dawn to write, chuckling at your creations, before standing on your head in your favourite yoga pose. Your writing reflects and records the importance of history - who writes it, rewrites it and to what end. You were interested in how the past shaped the present and how our actions shape the future. This inspired your deep study of humanity's oral and written knowledge as well as your political activism in non-racial theatre and sport.
Your aptly titled memoir, In the Manure, describes the name, Ronnie, by which you were known, as a "colonial anachronism". You preferred the name chosen by your parents, Sathieseelan Gurulingam.
Apartheid's forced removals drove you to record the lives trampled into the dust of Cato Manor. In crafting story and character, you made complex ideas accessible through language, music, dance, breath and pause. You transformed makeshift venues into vibrant theatres, deploying sets, sound, lighting and repeated rehearsals to enthral your...