By Reshana Roopnarain, Eastern Cape Rising Sun
Eastern Cape bids farewell to a humanitarian stalwart of the community, Mr Barry Makhan, CEO of Makhinwa Media who passed away on Saturday.
It is hard to not be emotional writing a tribute to someone who has so many fond memories and interactions, who has professionally and personally been a guiding light to me, and whose name will stick with us forever.
Barry, you touched the hearts of many, and we are so much richer in every way to have had you in our lives.
Personally, I gained my tenacity and strength from Barry when I entered East London in 2017 from Durban. Away from home and being in a city, I needed to understand was so much easier when I had Barry’s support and guidance. He never wanted to be thanked, acknowledged, or praised for ‘his behind-the-scenes work and help’, which he countless times had given.
A stern and a ‘not very approachable face’ was just a front for people to not see the beautiful heart that Barry possessed. His encouraging words will always remain with me. I looked forward to every Tuesday morning when our newspaper was delivered to his office. He always had suggestions and input that helped the publication make a name for itself in the community.
A mentor, father, and friend to me, Barry was someone who never ceased to amaze me with so much wisdom and sharp thinking that he possessed for a man at his age. He used to complete reading an average of three books a week taking into consideration the successful business he had to be at the forefront of daily.
Being in the media industry for almost two decades, I had to keep abreast of the news. Heading a community newspaper was very stressful and sometimes ones’ vision can become tunnelled into just community news. However, Barry made sure that I was kept abreast with national and international news on a daily basis. I will never forget the time when I participated in a ‘Jail ‘n Bail’ initiative where I had to raise funds for CANSA, Barry was the first to pledge R2,000 towards my bail.
The list of humanitarian work, community initiatives goes on and on and I am sure in the days and weeks ahead, many of you will hear about or read about Barry’s work. Being a sponsor of many events in East London, Barry did not do it for fame as he made sure that he or his company name was not on the list of the ‘Vote of Thanks’. There is a religious belief that when you help people or someone in need, you should not publicize it. The reason being ‘what you do in secret and behind the scenes, will be rewarded to ‘in secret’ by the heavenly being. That’s what Barry lived by thus giving him the name of a ‘true humanitarian’.
Having lost my father in 2012, I felt that fatherly figure presence connecting with Barry, who became very much part of my daily life by just staying connected, encouraging, and advising me. Recently with his illness and having not much communication, I felt an emptiness in me, even though Mrs Makhan kept me updated and passed our love and wishes to Barry. Mrs Makhan, herself is a strong, loving community worker who always has been a supportive pillar. We wish her strength during this time of grief.
The cliché that God chooses the best definitely applies to Barry. He was the best to many and he will always live in our hearts for we owe him a lifetime of gratitude.
Together with the Managing Director of Eastern Cape Rising Sun, Mr Nishal Rampersadh, we salute Barry Makhan who leaves a huge void in the community, but whose legacy will live on. Thank you, Barry, for leaving us with beautiful memories and life lessons that we will continue to implement in our lives. May your soul Rest in Eternal Peace.
Barry is survived by his loving wife Vroodha, son Darmesh, daughter, Sheetal, and not forgetting his fur baby, Benjamin.