brenda and alan magidBrenda and the Hon. Justice Alan MagidHis is a distinguished name of the South African legal bench. He has also owned a slew of good horses including Queen Isolt (the best daughter of Sir Tristram to run in this country) and Icona - a Gold Cup winner.

The Hon Justice Alan Magid is a long standing and highly regarded member of the ‘Summerhill family’. Just over a week ago he, and his wife Brenda, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Justice Magid’s speech from that evening follows and all of us at Summerhill wish him and Brenda every happiness for the next 50 years !

50 years ago I made the worst bridegroom’s speech in history. It was worthy of a dishonorable mention in the Guinness Book of Records, had that existed at the time. But perhaps I’ve learned a little since then. Brenda is, of course, not responsible for anything I may say save that we both welcome all of you, relatives and special friends all, who have gathered from all points of the compass to rejoice with us.

Apart from the Durbanites, you have come from the UK, the USA, Israel and all parts of South Africa. We greet you all and thank you for taking the trouble to be with us for this important weekend of our lives. I won’t mention you by name but you know that all of you and your friendship are special and valuable to us. Nevertheless I cannot help saying the our best present has been the fact that our lovely daughters Bess and Susan, have been able to come to Durban to celebrate with us. It would have made our joy complete had not circumstances prevented their families and our son Paul and his family from joining us.

On a 50th anniversary what can one say of marriage that would not sound affected, condescending or false?

The great Greek philosopher Socrates is quoted as saying “By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one you’ll become a philosopher”. 

Suffice it to say that I have not become a philosopher!

Philosophical sometimes, always optimistic, but never a philosopher.

We have several things in common. It helps that we both love music. Brenda taught me to love Mahler and I taught her to love opera. And we’ve even played duplicate bridge together with a small modicum of success

notwithstanding the game’s reputation as a marital danger. That kind of friendship is important and it also helps when ones wife is a gourmet cook.

In my reading I recently came across a line from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”. Shakespeare stole the line from a contemporary poet and playwright, Christopher Marlowe. If it was good enough for Shakespeare to steal, it’s good enough for me to use the line.

“Whoever loved that loved not at first sight”.

It’s a romantic thought.  But it is only true for me if one interprets the word “sight” in a somewhat restricted sense. I had, of course, seen Brenda for some years before our first date on 15 September 1956. But that was when I really noticed her for the first time and it was good enough to call my best bachelor friend at the time and tell him to get himself a date for the following Saturday night as I had found the girl I was going to marry. If that’s not love at first sight, it’s pretty close to it and the rest, as they say, is history.

50 years is a long time in all conscience but, looking back, the time seems to have passé extremely quickly. They say that time passes quickly when you are having fun which proves our marriage has been fun.