In Memory

Ant Hacker

Ant passed away in Durban in October, 2018.

Ant became a member of the Class of 1963 when he repeated matric.  He played a prominent role in the organization of the 50th anniversary class reunion in 2013.  No one who was present at the 2013 Founder’s Day assembly could possibly forget his thoughtful speech to the assembled DHS pupils.  It is worth repeating here:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Ballies

Hey Guys, listen up!  I’ve failed matric twice, and been fired three times, so I’m sure there is a lot you can learn from a guy like me!

50 years ago we were also at Founders Day Assembly and I cannot tell you how great it is to be celebrating our 50th reunion (it’s my second!)

So here I am with my mates, most of us about 67 or 68 years old, looking back at our lives and sharing memories of the wonderful times we had at this great school.  So I represent the class of 63, but I can’t talk for long because most of them will fall asleep.

Imagine where you’ll be in 50 years’ time.  Where you’ll be living.  How many grandkids you’ll have and knowing the contribution you have made to this world and hopefully to this great country.

With hindsight, I’m sorry I did not get much from my books, but I got a helluva lot from my school.  I learnt about failure and success, determination and disappointment.  I learnt the importance of integrity and of great friends.  And most of all I learnt about tenacity.  

This is a tough world.  It is not fair.  It is not right.  But it will be as awesome as you want to make it.  When you capsize in your life – and you will, at the time it will probably be devastating and perhaps even life changing.  It’s only when you’re older and look back will you realise that everything happens for a reason.  Only then will you be able to join the dots in the puzzle of life.

I have learnt 4 things from business life that I would like to share with you.

1.      Look for what you love.  Try, fail, learn and then move on.  And keep doing it until you find what makes you happy.  Then you’ll be good at it.

Don’t necessarily do what your folks want you to do.  Do what you love

2.      Money should not be the main purpose of your endeavour.  It should be a by-product of what you do (Disney’s main purpose is to put smiles on kids’ faces).  Do it well and profit will be made.

3.      Put people first.  Trust them.  Recognise and respect them.  Challenge them.  And let them fly.  And they will in turn lift you up.

4.      And lastly, and no one else will tell you this … business is simple.  Business is simple made complicated by clever people.  So keep it simple.

This is a wonderful world, and we live in a wonderful country.  

·         Of course there are problems in this world – always have been, always will be.

·         Of course there are problems in this country – always have been, always will be.

·         The only two things you can decide are:

1.      Do you see problems or do you see opportunities – Thinks about this!   I would rather be an optimist and wrong than a pessimist and right.  

2.      What are you going to do that will make a difference to your family, your friends, your colleagues, your community, your town, your country.  No matter how small, you can make a big difference.

I believe in South Africa: we need to be entrepreneurial and to go out and start something.  You don’t need money, backing or business plans – that comes later.  You need imagination and hunger and guts and tenacity - the things that you have learnt at this great school – and you may fail at first, or many times, and that’s okay.

Take it from me, you can have some failures.  The trick is to pick yourself up, not to quit, try again, and you will be successful.  But most importantly you will feel good about yourself and the difference you have made.

And finally – enjoy your life, you only have one shot at it

Stuart "Mossie" Clark

October 17, 2018