TRIBUTE: A group performs Small's poems.     CREDIT: Bertram Malgas
TRIBUTE: A group performs Small's poems. CREDIT: Bertram Malgas

“… Wie is hy? Julle het so baie te sê oor die digter, maar wie is hy…”

The life of iconic writer and poet Adam Small was celebrated by musicians and wordsmiths at the Artscape theatre yesterday.

Artists took pieces of his work and brought it to life in the production Adam Small A Celebration Of A Life.

The poet passed away on 25 June following a “complicated operation”. He was 79.

So dank dank dank dank die Here vir Adam Small, vir so ’n briljante kunstenaar,” prayed cleric Willa Boesak as he opened the ceremony.

The crowd in the auditorium was filled with close friends and family of Small, including his wife Rosalie and two children Peter and Zaidee.

Mayor Patricia de Lille also came to pay her respects.

“Small was a man who for decades used his voice and art to evoke consciousness and speak out against the injustices of our past,” said de Lille.

REMEMBERED: The late Adam Small, iconic writer and poet

She asked people to keep his memory alive by teaching his work, so that the generations to come “will remember our brave voices”.

The tribute was organised by actress and singer Natalia Da Rocha, who also performed several pieces of Small’s work.

As she ended her emotional rendition of his poem, What about the law? the crowd surged to their feet and sang and clapped along with her.

Da Rocha worked closely with Small to create a show called Adam Small Bejazzed where she took unreleased poems of his and added jazz music to it.

On the first night of the Bejazzed production a year ago, an impressed Small walked onto the stage and thanked everyone, saying: “Now I can die happy.”

The songbird said yesterday: “I loved working with Adam. He is a brilliant brain.”

She also hinted at other productions and a possible Adam Small Festival in the near future, but wouldn’t reveal any details.

Adam’s wife, Rosalie, thought the production was superb.

“Although Adam has died, his work will live on,” she said.

It was also announced that the Mayor of Wellington had agreed to change the name of the street where Small grew up to Adam Small Street.