Recently one of our members, Moth Peter Longbottom, did Pip-Ack Shellhole proud when he was nominated for the ‘Unsung Heroes Award’ at his place of work. Peter works for the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport: Archives and Record Service. He was nominated for the award by one of his colleagues. The reasons are given verbatim below:
“He took me under his wing when I started working at Western Cape Archives in 2006 as an Auxiliary Officer. He became more than my supervisor as he showed me the ropes in the field of Archives and Records Management. He encouraged me to study further and applied for the state bursary. As the state bursary does not furnish text books, Mr. Longbottom bought them for me from his own pocket because I was unable to buy them at the time as my notch level was 2. He even goes further than that when my shack was robbed as the thieves broke my door, he bought me a new door with a burglar gate. When my sister passed away he was the first person to comfort me and arrange for me and my family to attend my sister’s funeral in the Eastern Cape.
Today I am a UNISA graduate with a post graduate certificate and I am an Administrative Officer: Registry / Archives at Tygerberg Hospital. He was the first person I informed about my graduation and he ensured that I, together with my wife and son, attended the graduation ceremony at the Cape Town International Convention Centre by picking us up at my house in Nyanga East and paid for the graduation photos on 08 October 2011. Last year my first-born son passed away in Johannesburg and again Mr. Longbottom phoned me and comforted me and arranged for my wife and I to travel to Johannesburg to identify my late son’s body and to take him to the Eastern Cape.
To Mr. Longbottom the colour of my skin was not an issue, even if it was with me when I first met him at Western Cape Archives and Records Services on 22 February 2006. He had become more than a supervisor and became a friend, family member and a father. He does not get tired with me as I always ask him for advice in any critical decision I take. You will never see him talk with a loud voice and he is always smiling.
As both my parents passed away he had became my father and even my family knows who we need to contact whenever we hit a hiccup – Mr. Longbottom will respond to you at any time.
He has gone beyond the call of duty, not only to me but to many of the Auxiliary officers at the Western Cape Archives.
I have no words to describe Mr. Longbottom but to say in my language ‘Butsolo bentonga nga ungaboli. Sakugalela ityiwa.’ It literally means, ‘You the adviser may you live forever. Even in your death we will ensure your body does not rot as we will embalm it with salt.’ In my culture these words are used for people who cares about humanity without looking for praise or reward because they believe it is the right thing to do. Even now, at my current post as a supervisor, I try to emulate Mr. Longbottom’s skills to my unit members.”