The Covid-19 pandemic has been ravaging the world for almost two years. In its wake it has left a trail of death and incredible human suffering. I lost two wonderful friends and colleagues who succumbed to the disease, Advocate Kemp J. Kemp and Dr Kriban Naidoo.
Both these exceptional individuals were consummate professionals in their respective fields, law and medicine, and had an indelible impact on my life.
What mostly set them apart from their counterparts were their shared qualities of absolute humility, empathy, compassion and generosity. Each of them was bestowed with an unusual and superior intellectual ability that blended theory and practice seamlessly to make them rare specialists in their fields.
I first met Kemp in 1986 when he was dean of law at the University of Zululand. I had just graduated from the University of Stellenbosch and was assuming a senior lectureship to teach law. Kemp was my mentor, colleague and friend. As a lawyer, he stood head and shoulders above his peers but was often misunderstood or underestimated. He had an extraordinary binary grasp of legal theory and its practical application.
Kriban, “the gentle giant”, was a legend in medical circles in Pietermaritzburg; always selflessly rushing to and from, and between surgeries and hospitals, to attend to patients. Kind and generous he would wave away payment for his services if a patient was indigent. He gave fully of himself and his time, and was a testament to the fact that it is indeed “better to give than to receive”.