Graham or Dennis as I knew him had a unique life story to tell. He called it “Shadows of Justice,” because from his more than 27 years of incarceration as a criminal in prison, he had seen the political situation of South Africa not change. He had seen truth, reconciliation and justice and any other noble ideas of transformation as mere shadows, and in fact illusions.
Dennis felt Africa very strongly. He lived by the principles of uBuntu, patience and faith in the Almighty, which he called the great Architect of Africa.
“If I am kept silent or prefer to be silent, then this is not my victory but the System’s victory over me. I have no formal education and I am Dyslexic but this did not deter me, as I realized the brutality and inhumanity that was meted out to the oppressed was inexplicable.” Graham Michael Lesch
Image donated to Baba Archie Gumede by Graham Michael Lesch
Graham lived through the apartheid period of South African history. He had been a fighter in the struggle for a political freedom, a struggle in his opinion that was never resolved.
The struggle was more like a window dressing for the change in governance from the Nationalist Party to the African Nationalist Congress. There was no significant change, and according to Dennis, the same evil powers were still in control long after apartheid ended.
Graham’s extraordinary determination to survive under the radical circumstances of the criminal justice system of apartheid, and then racist working environment of the time exposes the power of the human condition - and the generosity of unconditional love to overcome everything. To have suffered as much as Dennis had in his life, but to have still lived out his life with humility and respect, was not only a satisfaction but a joy. Perhaps he never had the strength to forgive the past. But, he had an eternal youthfulness to him through his yearning for a common humanity where the qualities of compassion, kindness and understanding were evident.
Graham helped many people and walked his own path with his own ingredients of love and compassion.