The Kings of Rock

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Saturday 16 March 2013: 6 years 6 months on …

Physical: Advantage ED / Mental: Advantage ED

During the last three weeks rugby fever has been raised to an all-time high here in Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape thanks to the efforts of the minnow Southern Kings in the Super 15 competition.

Last night they put in yet another sterling performance against the defending champions, the Chiefs, from New Zealand.


We do not know what the future holds for The Kings and it will be interesting to see, if I am still here this time next here, what I shall be writing about the team and the competition then.

What I do know is that in this short time that The Kings have been around there have been so many lessons that we can learn from their performance:

Never under-estimate an underdog

Take one challenge at a time

Face a challenge, no matter how big it is

Never say no

Never lie down

Never give up

You CAN do it

Your attitude impacts on those around you

You CAN make a difference to those around you and in society as a whole

(You can add to this list by making a comment at the bottom of this blog.)

There is a traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch in various countries, such as the United Kingdom:

The King is dead. Long live the King. (French: Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!)

The original phrase was translated from the French Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!, which was first declared upon the accession to the French throne of Charles VII  after the death of his father Charles VI  in 1422.

At the time, French was the primary language of the nobility in England, and the proclamation was quickly taken up as ideally representing the same tradition — which in England dates back to 1272, when Henry III died while his son, Edward I was fighting in the Crusades*.

The phrase arose from the law of le mort saisit le vif—that the transfer of sovereignty occurs instantaneously upon the moment of death of the previous monarch. “The King is dead” is the announcement of a monarch who has just died. “Long live the King!” refers to the heir who immediately succeeds to a throne upon the death of the preceding monarch.

Because the throne shall never be empty and the country shall never be without a monarch, another interpretation of the phrase is that the King is dead, but his good work will be remembered forever. It therefore means that the monarchy never dies even when the King does and even if a soul has moved on.

So, whatever the future of The Southern Kings (and we can only hope that LONG LIVE THE KINGS), one can trust that these lessons that have been displayed will continue forever.

Talking about things French:

On Thursday evening I attended the Centrestage Production of Legends of Rock. It was a fundraiser for St Francis Hospice that provides holistic palliative care to some 620 people in Port Elizabeth (including me) who live with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and motor-neurone disease.

In front of the Centrestage All-Star Band was featured guest artist and amazing talented Cedric Vandenschrik and together they re-animated Freddy Mercury, David Bowie, John Lennon and Jim Morrison with salutes to The Police and Led Zepplin in the mix.

We also heard the music of Rodriguez, Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler, Mick Jagger and Jimmi Hendrix and Twisted Sister.


But back to Cedric:

In 1984, both Ced and ED (that’s me!) arrived at Grey High as new-comers. He was a pupil in Std 6 and I was a teacher. He was from Congo and I was from Cape Town. He spoke French and I spoke Afrikaans and English, and was learning French at the Alliance Francaise.

Je parle francais un petit peu. So I practised my limited French on Ced!

We both left Grey in 1988.

On Thursday evening, after an excellent show, we briefly filled in the years from then to now over a drink at Barneys.

Ced was born in Mogadishu of an Italian mother and a Belgian father and has become a true citizen of the world, speaking fluent French, Italian and English.

After school, he did his national service in the Belgian army, returned to graduate from UPE cum laude in philosophy and political science and then went into music and theatre professionally in 1993 when he collaborated with Gary Hemmings, owner of Centrestage and another ex-pupil of mine, to produce a Pink Floyd tribute The Wall at the Grahamstown Festival.

He has since played the characters mentioned above in front of many hit Barnyard shows such as Roll over Beethoven, Rock me Amadeus and Forever Young throughout our country.

His internationally acclaimed tribute to Jaques Brel entitled Brel – Rough Diamond toured the world, where he performed as far afield as Belgium, Ireland, Italy, USA, China, Mauritius, Reunion and the Edinburgh festival.

Dubai is yet another favourite venue where has fronted their Symphony Orchestra singing various gendres of music. He regularly does performances in Cape Town and Rome, where he lives for half the year.

In recent years, he has bought a house at nearby Cannon Rocks where he not only has a music studio but also indulges himself in kite-boarding. Recently, he has become involved in organising a very successful public kite-boarding festival and competition there – an event that continues to grow.

Gary Hemmings describes Ced as “a seasoned pro and a gentleman”!

He truly lives his dream. He has not shirked away from the opportunities that Life has offered him.

I enjoyed our “catch-up”, Ced, and look forward to our next one at Cannon Rocks.

 Sir George Grey, buried in St Pauls Cathedral in London, was in his lifetime Governor and Prime Minister of New Zealand and who, as Governor of the Cape Colony, authorised and gave his name to our Grey High School. He wrote the following in 1859 when he returned at the end of his governorship to London from Cape Town, in a letter to the staff and pupils of The Grey:

Gentlemen and Students

Your letter at expressing your regret at my departure is one of the most gratifying which I have received. Every man desires to aid in blessing others, and in doing good; but it is not given to many men to see such early fruits springing from those labours in which they themselves and others have engaged. God has, in the case of the Institution from which you write, given me this pleasure, and has allowed me to hear that, from the Grey Institute, and from amongst yourselves, good and able men have come forth.

I am sure Sir George smiles with pleasure at the likes of good and able men who have come forth from his institution: people who have been in the news this week. People like Ced Vandenschrik, Gary Hemmings and from The Southern Kings:  Alan Solomon (Director), Luke Watson (captain), Sergeal Petersen (player), Gavin Cowley (TV presenter).

(You may add to this list, too, by leaving a comment at the bottom of this blog.)

(* Next week, our Kings face the Crusaders in New Zealand.)