The official funeral of Derrick McBride, father of Robert McBride, two weeks ago is emblematic of much of our recent history and the endemic amnesia on all sides. Though flags were flown at half-mast throughout KwaZulu-Natal, most of the conventional eulogies politely defied the wise epigram: “A live-wire in life, let us not say dull things about him in death.”

The saga of McBride Snr doesn’t easily fit the by now clichéd mould, so it’s all the more worth recording.

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