June Reflections on a Journey with My Journey by Dr Lyndon Bouah

0
487

After greeting our dog Bob, my wife Denise and I started our journey along the N2.

We said a prayer to ask for travelling mercies and I checked my bracelet which I wear which says, “Be strong and courageous”. It comes from Joshua 1:9 which reads, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”


Life begins after coffee – This was a slogan on a coffee bought along the N2 by Denise when we commenced our journey. Please make yourself a cup of coffee and settle in! On 12 June 2021, I launched the book: Reflection on Chess in a Rainbow Nation – My Journey, at the South End Museum in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

The South End Museum was an ideal venue and was recommended by my family and friends. The South End Museum proved amenable to the idea and so at 10h00 that morning I launched my book. It was an emotional day but I was very happy that I could dedicate the book to my late parents and my sisters Meryl Cooper and Allison Adams and my wife Denise.

I spoke to about my high schools and importance of teachers and what they bring to each one others. I firmly believe that teachers are undervalued in our society today. I do not think that I would have been able to succeed in life without the grounding that parents and teachers have instilled in me. I think of Mrs June Udemans, my class and History teacher, who often told us never to accept those grades like E and F’s because even though the education system allowed you to pass, you still knew less than half of the work! She referred to such pass marks as “gutter education!” Mr Alan Zinn came to support as well.

The book is a narrative of my journey from the northern areas of the then Port Elizabeth where I learnt to play chess to going on to represent South Africa at the highest level at the Chess Olympics. I want to break the dominant narrative about the northern areas and the Cape Flats. I wanted young people to be inspired when they read my story so that they can know that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.

Dr Omar Esau from Stellenbosch University reviewed the book and wrote the following:

This book is a second volume by Dr Lyndon Bouah – Reflections on Chess in the Rainbow Nation: Volume Two – My Journey, Part One: Division and Unity. It gives the reader a good insight into the memories of Lyndon as he narrates his journey as a chess player. Although Lyndon’s book focuses on his chess journey, it has much wider resonance. He commences his story as a young novice chess player in 1983 and then within a decade, in 1992 he represents South Africa on the highest stage as a Chess Olympiad player.

The book belongs to a genre of books by ordinary people who although faced with challenges under Apartheid against all odds went on to become a huge asset both as player and administrator in the SA chess fraternity. The book bears testimony that chess was organised in the townships of SA during Apartheid and that it was being played on a high level both in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape where the author resided.


Methodologically, Reflections on Chess in the Rainbow Nation: Volume Two – My Journey, Part One: Division and Unity contribute greatly to the field of the qualitative researcher, the ethnographer, and to the oral historian.

The book is an interesting read and gives a good insight into the life of Lyndon Bouah a learner from Bethelsdorp Senior Secondary School in Port Elizabeth who goes on to study his B. Iuris, LLB Degrees and later his PhD Degree at the University of the Western Cape. The stories highlight the different facets of Dr Lyndon Bouah’s journey both as a scholar and as a chess player, coach and administrator.
Reflections on Chess in the Rainbow Nation: Volume Two – My Journey, Part One: Division and Unity is beyond doubt a sincere and dedicated contribution by Dr Lyndon Bouah to expound his love and appreciation to the history of Chess in South Africa. I trust anyone browsing through this book will enjoy Dr Lyndon Bouah’s chess journey and that one will find it as stimulating, interesting, enlightening and thought-provoking as I did.


Dr Lyndon Bouah in his book continues to illuminate the importance of storytelling. Telling his story of living through the latter stages of Apartheid and how he, as a chess player had to navigate his way from a township chess school to a SA Olympiad player, makes for an inspirational read.”


I thank everyone involved in the launch. The launch was also technologically a breakthrough as well. While I was addressing the audience at the South End Museum, the event was also streamed live on the Twitch Channel of CalvinKlaasenChess. Thank you, Calvin. People from all around the world had the opportunity to tune into the broadcast.

My friend Advocate Maxwell Solomon asked a question in the stream as to why I chose a museum to launch my book. Besides the fact that South End Museum and Conference centre resonated with me because of its history, I also believe that museums are important to our society. Museums are indeed an important reflection of humanity.

It does not matter where you travel to, museums allows one a glimpse into the life of a country and community. People have established museums for everything from wood to maritime matters to natural history. We need to protect and nurture our history, traditions and customs. It is only by using museums that we can safely nurture and promote our history. Humanity is reflected in museums whether you are in Beijing, Venice or Livingstone. We are all connected to one another. Thank you to the museum community for protecting our treasures!

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you rich – Slogan on a wall at Buffelsjag Oude Post. We then travelled to Mdantsane in Buffalo City to promote my book as well as the book of Dr Denise Bouah called Sport Psychology for Children. Here we again presented to the community of Mdantsane our presentations which related to the above topics. We were favourable received and the staff was friendly and excited at our visit. The library is a replica of the National Library and is a magnificent building.

The audience was surprised when I told them that I know of the reputation of this community in producing world-class boxers! We then completed the Buffalo City leg of the tour by addressing an audience in central town before leaving for George. It was really great being able to talk about chess and mental skills to the audience.


Saying: Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interesting. (Lady Bird Johnson) In George on Tuesday 15 June, we had a good turnout at the Town Lodge in George where we had representatives of the Education Department, the sport and recreation community and many interested parties in attendance.

We were hosted by the Jeda Foundation with Professor Quinton Johnson serving as the moderator for the evening. Eden FM streamed the session live on their Facebook and I thank Eden FM for their interest. We were also interviewed on the DJ Sebastian show the next morning.


The Jeda Foundation was founded by Prof Johnson and his wife Dr Bridget Johnson with the key values being ubuntu, respect, integrity, diversity, inclusion, excellence and responsibility. The Jeda Foundation serve as knowledge catalysts for life and they are doing great work in the Garden Route area in the promotion of education and skills related to this.

On Youth Day we then proceeded to Oudtshoorn where we were showcased our presentations to a diverse audience consisting of different sporting federations. Thank you to Eden Sport Council and Corne Bence for arranging this important gathering. Denise and I enjoyed engaging with the Bridgton learners and also learning more about the challenges in your district.

Our final talk was in Mossel Bay where we were hosted by the Mossel Bay local Sport Council under the leadership of Donovan Claasen. We first had a radio interview at TamboFM in Mossel Bay. This was a community radio station established in Kwanonqaba by Mr Olwethu Ndabankulu and opened on 30 April 2020 by Executive Mayor Alderman Harry Levendal.

We then concluded our tour at the Siyanithanda Disabled Children’s Centre in Kwanonqaba. Representatives from different sporting codes attended and we were able to conclude the tour on a high note. Thank you Mossel Bay Local Sports Council. We then spent the next day as tourists. I discovered some fun facts about Mossel Bay! Allow me to share a few: Visitors are encouraged to visit the Point of Origin at Pinnacle Point.

It is a world-renowned archaeological site with early evidence for modern human behaviour! The first Post Office in Southern Africa is in Mossel Bay. A letter was left in 1501 in a Milkwood Tree by Pedro D’Ataide. It is situated in the Mossel Bay museum complex.
The first place of Christian Worship in Southern Africa, and Ermina, was erected by Admiral Joao da Nova of the fourth Portuguese, in thanksgiving on his safe return journey from India. On our trip back we stopped at Tiny Town which is just outside Albertinia. Some fascinating tiny structures and certainly worth a stop!

Denise then stopped at the two Aloe stores along the way. I did not realise there were so many medicinal and other values in our plants! Outside Heidelberg, we stopped at a shop called Inspired where they sell all sorts of wonderful things! It is certainly worth a stop!

We ended our touristy drive by stopping at Buffelsjag where we enjoyed the sumptuous roosterkoeke. On 5 April 2021, they sold 2108 roosterkoeke on one day!! It is a must stop!

Denise and I stopped at the farm Klein Sandfontein Boerboels close to Caledon where we handed over a book Sport Psychology for Children to the owner of the farm, Beverli Katz, who specialises in breeding Boerboels. She was quite touched by the gesture. Her dogs have been champions for many years and she is known as South Africa’s best boerboel breeder! Xena, one of the characters in the book was a Klein Sandfontein boerboel and this is where Denise’s journey with Xena started, on a rainy day when she and her mom fetched her over a decade ago. Denise and Beverli have kept in touch over the years and it was a special and emotional moment to dedicate a copy of her book to Beverli and in memory of Xena.

The two books we promoted are available by ordering Sport Psychology for Children (It is R399 for June to honour youth month) and my Book is available at R270. Courier costs are an additional R100. You can order on 071 363 1306 on whatsapp or on Lyndon.bouah@gmail.com

Conclusion:
I do not know why I was drawn to South End Museum. As I was there for the day, I was able to walk through the various exhibitions. I discovered a picture of my late mother Ruby Bouah when she was part of the Eastern Province Hockey team in 1969.

The South End Museum each year hosts a George Botha Memorial lecture. Mr Botha died in detention during the struggle against apartheid. His sons Garth and Lyle were at school with me at Bethelsdorp. Each year different speakers are invited to speak at the lecture.


In 2007, Professor Cornelius Thomas who at the time was the Director of the National Heritage and Cultural Studies Centre at the University of Fort Hare wrote the following and I quote, “ I submit that every South African boy should have an Eland, a Mackenzie or a Bouah as a role model, especially youngsters in the Coloured community, from which these world class competitors had sprung.”

I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me – Philippians 4: 13.

Regards
Dr Lyndon Bouah

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here