RIP Turtis

Hippie Greg May

My mother Ute Hendry met Greg in 1972 through his boutique "Mad Yak" in Durban. A hippie shop of hand made goods.

He offered my mother her first job in South Africa at 18 years old, and Greg was just a year older. He suggested making "hippie" women's clothing out of Indian Saris. So together they went to Grey street where all the Indian shops are, to buy cloth to make dresses.

My mother and an Indian machinist made the clothes in a hippie commune in Malvern near Queensburgh where many travellers congregated. Greg's mother Wynne May, an author for Mills & Boom used to visit in horror. Lets not forget why young travellers were in Durban in those days.

Two years later Greg was conscripted to the South African army, and he handed the business to a man named "Smokey" who my mother didn't like to work for.

When Greg came out of the army, and he turned up at "Gandalf's Garden", a new shop my mother and Marilyn operated their businesses from, my mother claims she didn't recognise him! They weren't friends then, since before he was her boss.

Young Greg

Greg then focused on cameras and later he had his own advertising company. We all remember Greg as an incredible creative, where he was able to combine all his talents. He was very well read and had an immense music collection.

Our family became good friends and they used to socialise frequently together.

Greg May

Greg met his future wife Lynne possibly through one of the parties my parents used to throw in Westville. We attended their Wedding in Underburg, a very special occasion.

Greg and Lynne were bird watchers and they were soul mates.

Greg never drove or cared seemingly to learn how to drive.

Lynne tragically died of cancer in 2009. Greg would mark her death every year and he probably turned to drink to cope. His health deteriorated and his legs needed to be amputated due to diabetes.

When I last met Turtis, he was running an art gallery "Fresh Paint", supporting South African artists. A gentle, caring and intellectual soul is how I remember Greg.

Over the years our only contact to his wit was his Facebook posts featuring good music choices and landscape photography.

He retired to Smithfield, strategically between Knysna and Joeburg, to run accommodation for weary travellers.

Sadly this is the way his death was reported

We mourned for Greg. A very dear family friend. We mourned for South Africa. A tragic place.

Landscape by Greg May
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