Steve Pike

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

WEL­COME HOME,” said Rev­erend Mpho Tutu, daugh­ter of our iconic peace­maker, to the crew of Hawai­ian voy­ag­ing ca­noe Hokule‘a when they ar­rived in Cape Town this week.

She was speak­ing of the an­cient African roots that grew into hu­mankind – a mov­ing trib­ute to the Malama Honua World­wide Voy­age, which is a four-year, 60 000 nau­ti­cal mile jour­ney around the world by the tra­di­tional Poly­ne­sian dou­ble-hulled ca­noe.

Malama Honua means “to care for the Earth”, and the voy­age aims to re­con­nect peo­ples around the world to unite in a com­mon bond to care for our planet ( if we’re to sur­vive).

Rev­erend Tutu said that the voy­age “harks back to our oneness.” “To the start­ing point of our in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness and our hu­man jour­ney.”

This voy­age of the boat, which has been sail­ing for 40 years, be­gan in 2013 and ends in 2017 when another team of nav­i­ga­tors will guide her back to Poly­ne­sia af­ter sail­ing around the world.

They are now half­way. Ac­cord­ing to Hawai­ian jour­nal­ist Derek Fer­rar, who has been cov­er­ing the South African stop for Hawai­ian Air­lines mag­a­zine Hana­hou, they could not be fur­ther away from home.

How­ever, a spirit of friend­li­ness and car­ing made them feel they had never left.

Speak­ing just be­fore he flew out from Cape Town, he said: “Ev­ery- where we went in South Africa, it was over­whelm­ing how wel­com­ing peo­ple were. I ex­pe­ri­enced aloha.”

Aloha is the Hawai­ian equiv­a­lent of ubuntu, the col­lec­tive thread that holds hu­man­ity to­gether. The Hawai­ian ver­sion of say­ing “Wel­come Home” con­sists of plac­ing a gar­land of flow­ers around a vis­i­tor’s neck. This ex­pres­sion of aloha was the same as ubuntu (“I am what I am be­cause of who we all are”). In the gar­land, it is sym­bol­i­cally rep­re­sented by the string that con­nects the flow­ers.

It also brings to light another fas­ci­nat­ing link be­tween Hawaii and South Africa: le­gendary wa­ter- man, surfer and life­guard Eddi Aikau.

Fer­rar says that Ed­die died in 1978 pad­dling to get help for a boat that cap­sized – the very same boat that’s in Cape Town this week, the Hokule‘a. How­ever, I di­gress.

In 1972, ac­cord­ing to Fer­rar, Ed­die was in­vited to com­pete in the Gun­ston 500 in Dur­ban.

It was the height of apartheid and, of course, when he went to check in at his ho­tel, he was es­corted out by se­cu­rity.

He had nowhere to go, and wan­dered be­wil­dered around Dur­ban be­fore Ernie Tom­son, fa­ther of 1977 world surf­ing cham­pion Shaun, came to the res­cue, and he stayed with them.

The Tom­son fam­ily – Shaun was a mere grom at the time – in­tro­duced him to an Aus­tralian surf­board shaper, Darryl Holmes and his wife Lynne, who were liv­ing in Dur­ban.

Surfers, of course, knew what a leg­end Ed­die was. The Holmes threw a party for him, then took him on a 1000km road trip (af­ter his con­test ended on Day 2 of the Gun­ston) in their VW Kombi to Jef­frey’s Bay.

Ed­die was to later say they surfed “their guts out” and then had din­ner, af­ter which he took out his gui­tar, show­ing them the Hawai­ian “slack key” style and


RAIS­ING A TAIL: Beyrick de Vries of South Africa tak­ing sec­ond place in his Round 2 heat at the Hawai­ian Pro, Ali'i Beach Park, to ad­vance to the next round.

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