(There are many who did not know
who Ian du Toit was, within the context of CHILDS, but if you read on
you will agree that he will be missed by many who never even met him.
Anne-Marie Rencken-Wentzel, co-founder (with Ian) of CHILDS, wrote this
moving tribute to a man who did much for people like us. I would like
to thank those in Australia and New Zealand who assisted in searching
for his children, whom he did finally speak with before he died. Thank
you, -- Ady Dodds.)
Ian du Toit the co-founder of CHILDS ~ Children In Legal
Disputes died on the 26th October 2004.
We, the Board and members of CHILDS honour and remember Ian and his
vision that children have the right to an ongoing relationship with
both parents after one or both of them choose to end the relationship.
Ian and his children, Adam and Victoria, did not enjoy that privilege
in spite of his relentless efforts to be part of their lives.
Ian, like many other parents in South Africa and across the globe,
did not have access to his children, was not informed when they were
ill, in hospital, had to undergo surgery, received an accolade, met
a first boyfriend or girlfriend, did poorly at school, or was just not
okay and needed a hug from dad. Ian could not attend gala evenings,
attend rugby and hockey matches and do the daily caring things parents
do for their children as they lived outside the borders of South Africa.
Living far away from each other without a proper court order in place
was one of the reasons he and his children were successfully alienated.
Ian spoke out against a system that allowed the form of alienation
he and his children was subjected to. He put thinking, time effort and
his personal resources, at times limited, into our organisation to help
fight the wrongs that allows often long lasting damage to come to the
lives of families.
There were times that Ian was ready to give up and just walk away
but those were short-lived moments. He always encouraged every one at
CHILDS in spite of his own pain at times visible, saying the children
are the real victims. They are the victims of the circumstances they
do not understand ~ circumstances created by the parents.
At CHILDS we know that the system we live in allows the pain and suffering
Ian, Adam and Victoria, and to a sure degree the mother of the children
and her husband must have suffered ~ no matter who was mostly at fault
in the alienation process.
We salute Ian, a warrior in the fight against the abuse perpetrated
against families at the time of separation and divorce. We honour him
for his efforts to change legislation, to influence the thinking of
the judiciary and the mental health worker, the aid the volunteer worker,
to support the mothers and fathers separated from their children and
to empower children separated from their parents to speak up for themselves.
We at CHILDS will continue the work you were
the architect of.