The family wishes to extend deep gratitude to all, for the prayers, support, comforting messages, calls, flowers, cards and gifts during this time of bereavement.
Robert was a loving and caring husband, father of two, grandfather of six and friend to hundreds more, who left this world suddenly on January 31st, aged 79.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, his educational journey began at Bishops College, followed by the University of Cape Town, where he followed briefly in his fathers’ footsteps in reading Law. Of course his story was never a binary one and his time at UCT exposed him firstly to the student political activism of the time that ultimately led him to exile, but more importantly this was when he met Marion Marquard whom he married in 1966.
After a Master’s degree in Manchester Robert and Marion moved to Zambia where he taught at the shiny new UNZA in Lusaka and where the exiled ANC was also headquartered. Their two daughters, May and Star, were also born during this time. Sadly after 8 years, a change in political winds led to his detention, interrogation and ultimate expulsion to the UK, where the family settled in the then un-sought-after area of south London, Clapham.
After a difficult period of transition, Robert became the Managing Editor at Zed books where, in his own words, he “tried to give effective voice to the courageous and free-spirited social campaigners and engaged intellectuals who, against enormous odds throughout the ‘developing’ world, struggled to make their countries more democratic, more confident and independent, less poor, and with hope and strategies for a better future.”
He was at Zed for 28 years, publishing hundreds of titles and making friends across the world. After Zed, Robert was of course not content with putting his feet up, but rather continued to find new avenues where he could remain active and juggle his priorities of education, environment, politics and activism.
He became an active member of Friends of the Earth in Wandsworth and then co-founded and co-chaired Wandsworth Living Streets before becoming Secretary of London Living Streets. His passion for both of these organisations centred around addressing climate change, the issue which he felt would define the world he would leave behind to his children and grandchildren: Omni, Isla, Zahira, Theo, Zeph and Zander.
Throughout his life, his intellectual and political curiosity was infectious and drew people towards him. He was a leader and role model – even if he probably didn’t view himself as such. His warmth, self-deprecating humour and incredible laugh is what many will remember.
Written by Nic Molteno – Robert’s nephew
A selection of floral posies. Approximate sizes are:
A beautiful range of sympathy baskets. Approximate sizes include:
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