Time out for joy­ous Babes

Go! & Express - - Entertainment - DON BRYCE

EAST Lon­don has this week lost one of its bright­est and hap­pi­est per­son­al­i­ties when the ever-cheer­ful “flower child” known only as Babes died.

Babes died on Mon­day at the age of 70 from kid­ney fail­ure.

Born in New­mar­ket, Eng­land on May 9 1946, and mov­ing with her York­shire­man fa­ther and South African-born mother to East Lon­don, South Africa in her in­fancy, she be­came a fa­mil­iar sight as she walked the city’s streets spread­ing her mes­sage of love to ev­ery­one she met.

“Flow­ers rep­re­sent peace,” were her fa­mous words, in­di­cat­ing the bunch of flow­ers she car­ried, ad­ding that the dif­fer­ent colours were also sym­bolic of our rain­bow na­tion.

“It doesn’t mat­ter who or what you are, just re­mem­ber to love un­con­di­tion­ally! When I give some­one a flower I tell them that it is given with love, and then I tell them about God’s gift of love in send­ing his son Je­sus to die for our sins. After that I con­tinue to min­is­ter to them if they are in­ter­ested in know­ing more”.

Babes ex­uded tran­quil­lity wher­ever she went. A deeply com­mit­ted Chris­tian, she used her flam­boy­ant flower power im­age to pro­mote peace and spread her mes­sage of love and re­demp­tion.

“I bring the word of God,” she would say. “My strat­egy is to dis­trib­ute Chris­tian lit­er­a­ture, share my own tes­ti­mony as to how I met Je­sus, and en­cour­age oth­ers to turn to the Lord.”

Babes grew up in the hippy era, say­ing later many peo­ple to­day yearn for those times, not nec­es­sar­ily for the free sex and drugs, but for its char­ac­ter­is­tic of love.

Many peo­ple said that it bright­ened their day just to see Babes com­ing down the street wav­ing and smil­ing at ev­ery­one.

She would laugh when told that. “I can’t take the credit for bring­ing joy to peo­ple. That hon­our be­longs to God.”

Babes was in­ter­viewed as part of a 16-episode doc­u­men­tary on colour­ful or prom­i­nent East Lon­don per­son­al­i­ties, en­ti­tled Peo­ple of East Lon­don. Her in­ter­view can be viewed on YouTube. Look up “Babes Flower Child of East Lon­don”, or fol­low the link https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=i9GYEVPZWEU

“But I don’t only rep­re­sent my city,” she said. “I also rep­re­sent my coun­try and the whole world.”

She never re­alised one of her big dreams, “to visit Na­maqua­land be­fore I die. I’d love to walk and sit amongst all those flow­ers”, she of­ten said.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing a cham­pion chess player, she was a gifted mu­si­cian and singer with sev­eral al­bums out. Babes loved read­ing, but she had lit­tle time for fic­tion.

Now and then she al­lowed her­self an ‘’off’’ day, when she had a leisurely break­fast, re­laxed, read and wrote her me­moirs.

“Babes’ time is Babes’ time,” she would say firmly.

FLOWER CHILD: One of East Lon­don’s most pop­u­lar peo­ple, Babes, has died Pic­ture: DON BRYCE

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