Leaving a Legacy. Lessons from Dr. Ian Player 1


Tons of destructive bombs and missiles were raining down, in the snow covered forests of Northern Italy. Young South African men and their foes, were screaming and dying.


In a calm between the bombing, the shell-shocked soldiers began to talk. “What will happen, if we die? What will our families do without us?”

A young tank commander, spoke up, “Let’s rather talk about what we will do when we get home. “I am going to build canoe and paddle it from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. What will you chaps do?”


And thus, 70+ years ago the Dusi canoe marathon was born, from calmness in the face of fear.  


When the war was over, the people of Pietermaritzburg laughed at his crazy dream. “You are mad.” They told him. “If the crocs don’t get you, the Zulus will!”


But the young man was true to his promise. He built a canoe from wood and canvas. He loaded it with a tent, food and a Fitzsimmons snake kit. And it took him two weeks to reach Durban!


I first met him 50 years later. By then I had completed the race on 4 occasions. Our lives were already inextricably entwined.


His name was Dr. Ian Player. The late brother of world famous golfer, Gary Player. Ian has left many legacies, which include the World Wildlife Foundation and the Dusi.


My involvement in the marathon helped me to speak Zulu, and understand other cultures. It also initiated my role as a peacemaker. And now as an international speaker and workplace peacemaker.  Because of his wartime vision, I was adopted by a Zulu tribe, and married into an Indian family and now speak 6 languages.


Doctor Player, Nelson Mandela, F.W. De Klerk and Mahatma Ghandi all got me legacy-focussed. They taught me that I must leave more than a grave stone, when I am gone.


Two legacy lessons that I have learnt from them…

  • Always make great plans for the future, no matter what the circumstances are.
  • Always follow your dreams to completion, no matter what anybody says.


My biggest dream is to build a better country for all people. And I am doing it.


What about you? What is your big impossible dream? What is your legacy? 

Brian V Moore

072 439 4220


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One thought on “Leaving a Legacy. Lessons from Dr. Ian Player

  • sylvia hammond

    Thank you Brian.  The Comrades Marathon was also started by the soldiers who returned.  Many had survived prisoner of war camps and knew that it was working together and their mutual support that got them through. Some of the returning soldiers were the runners and the others were the organisers and “supporters” who got them through.