Obituary for Steven Tennet

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  • Added: May 30, 2018

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You left home for boarding school in 61 and we both know that wasn’t much fun,
You were always a clever lad, questioning things like I never had.
You were a painter, sculptor, chess player and thinker, and many a theory about life did you tinker.
We moved to Australia, but fate brought us back to Africa, so hard to plant roots.

Back to boarding school where a statue you crafted, and long has it lasted.
Art was your natural gift, cut short by a change of heart, and you had to make a new start.
Pity you were so far away and the means of communication were not the same as today.
Those days of the letter made us feel so far apart, questions and answers in fits and starts.

You studied maths and after a short while at home, set off to UK to be all alone,
You worked as a teacher, not so easy it seems, not like those aspirational dreams,
Computer science was then the rage and you used your skills to turn a new page.

A return to Rhodesia was made, where for 38 years you stayed.
With Doreen and Andrew, your son, life was worthwhile and fun.

Then life became very hard as the economy sank, and there was little money left in the bank.
You were innovative and determined, to survive no matter what,
And you bounced back from many a problem that others would not.

I’ll never forget about the well you did dig, and your idealistic dreams of fair play,
In a rational world you would do ok.

Your journeyed to England to set up your pension, and then news filled us with apprehension,
When we found out about your disease, and our hopes that somehow it would cease.
Another period of struggle, but this time you were fighting for your life.

I wanted you to win, you deserved it, so hard had you struggled….but it was not to be.
And although I wonder about the meaning of life, I believe in God who will wipe away all tears.
We must keep going and remember my brother Steven, who liked tennis, simple things, fair play and

Just a pity we didn’t have the opportunity to spend more time together. Rest in peace Steven; may
we see you in heaven.

Steven Tennett 1-07-51 to 19-05-18
Steven, I’m sorry we never had much time to spend together and you left far too quickly.
You left for boarding school in 61 and we both know that wasn’t much fun. I joined you at Springvale
in 62 and we had our first adventure together when our parents and Brian moved to Australia in
June 1963.

Steven and I were supposed to fly over to Australia with our granny, to join them. At the last minute
our granny got sick and we travelled alone. In those days that was a huge journey to be travelling as
unaccompanied minors. The first night was spent with Clare Beacom’s sister in Joburg. The second
night we stayed in a hotel in Mauritius. The next day we flew to Cocos Island, landing in the middle
of the night. Steven and I went for a walk on the moonlit beach on this miniscule island. A local man
offered us a coconut and then climbed a palm tree and cut it down. He de-husked it and we drank
the juice and then ate the coconut. While this was going on all the adults were drinking at a beach
bar. On the next leg of the flight to Perth Steven and I were violently ill as the unripe coconut
disagreed with us. Eventually after the last leg of the journey to Sydney we met up with our mother.

One of the reasons Steven and I did not see a lot of each other was that we were often at different
schools. Steven was at high school in Australia, while I was at the junior school, and when we
returned to Africa he went to Peterhouse. I was educated at Springvale and then Peterhouse for a
short time, leaving Steven to finish his schooling there in August 69. He did very well with his ‘A’
levels and after a brief stay in Malawi went to study art in Bath in September 69. By this time I was
studying engineering in Salisbury.

Steven left the art college in May 1970 and started working for the
accounting firm Cooper Brothers back in Malawi, before being accepted to study for a BSc at Natal
University in March 1971. By this time I was working on a construction site on the Shire River, so
was no longer staying at home. Steven spent some of his holidays in Malawi and he graduated in
November 73. He worked for dad for a short time and was good friends with Louis Costa, another of
dad’s employees. In February 74 Steven went to South Africa to look for a job and although he
found employment with Steel and Vanadium Group (a subsidiary of Anglo American) was unable to
get a work permit. While in Malawi Steven helped at the Luchenza Airday, accompanying Gordon
Abbey, driving kids around the airfield in a tractor. In October 74 Steven moved to UK and started
teaching, I think in the industrial area of Dagenham. He hated teaching as he found the kids very
disrespectful and even threatening. He soon started working in computers and did a course in that

Steven could not afford to come home during the upheaval of our parents divorce but came out to
Rhodesia-Zimbabwe in 1979. He met Doreen and got married, and Julie was able to arrange a
special reception at the Monomotapa Hotel, with their names on the billboard.

We left Zimbabwe in February 1981 and only saw Steven again on a handful of occasions. I really
enjoyed the communications we had by text and the occasional phone call over the last 10-month’s
of Steven’s life. I hoped beyond hope for Steven to recover from this illness, as he had fought so
hard for so long. Very sad, but Steven I hope you will be reunited with our mum and dad and other
loved ones. One day our souls may reconnect in a better place – I look forward to that.

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