Last Touch, Our Beloved Brother

Kim Williams scaling West Peak this summer, a favourite summit, along with The Dome – both high above Stellenbosch and Somerset West, where he grew up. In the distance, his home, Cape Town, and Table Mountain, which he climbed more than 500 times – and where he fell to his death.
The site where Kim Williams died, on Table Mountain, beneath the Twelve Apostles.
Kim Williams

On Saturday, I looked up at Table Mountain, and put my first foot forward. The most difficult trek of my life.

From Kloof Corner, we scaled India Venster, then traversed across to Kloof Corner Ridge.

I was retracing the steps of our brother.

It was there, one week prior, that a child of the Cape ascended Table Mountain.

Kim Williams grew up in Llandudno, Stellenbosch, the Banhoek Valley, on Dornier estate and in Somerset West.

His gifted mind was opened and blossomed… at Somerset House, the country’s oldest school, SACS, at UCT school of Law, and the Graduate School of Business.

On Saturday, he was hiking the mountain he adored for at least the 500th time – probably more. In 2015 alone, he summited Table Mountain 114 times – often in support of various charities.

But on Saturday February 27, for reasons we will never fully know, he fell to his death. He may have been scaling a rock-face, fell on to a narrow ledge – then plunged around 60m down a cliff high above Camps Bay.

Beneath the Twelve Apostles he lay.

The last person to see Kim alive, was the owner of one of Cape Town’s most historic restaurants. A week after Kim’s death, it was he who escorted us to the site where our brother last touched the earth.

Across a thousand messages of condolence, one theme stood out: “We have no words.”

When a 48-year-old is taken in his prime, what can be said?

Professionally, Kim served as a film producer – with Do Productions, Boondogle, Spier Films and a special FX company, Inspired Minority. A highlight was serving as Producer of the groundbreaking Cape Town film, Tess.

Kim served as a director of the SA Film Academy, led by Seton Bailey – who has announced the Young Filmmakers’ Programme will be re-named in Kim Williams’ honour.

At his memorial service, three songs were played, which articulated the severity of the family’s grief, and bade him safe flight.

· Breathing, by Prime Circle

· ’Til Kingdom Come, by Coldplay

· The Crossing, by the late Johnny Clegg

The Williams/Lyster/Comrie family took comfort in the words of poet Rabindranath Tagore, The Gardener: Peace My Heart…

“Peace, my heart, let the time for

the parting be sweet.

Let it not be a death but completeness.

Let love melt into memory and pain

into songs.

Let the flight through the sky end

in the folding of wings over the

nest.

Let the last touch of your hands be

gentle like the flower of the night.

Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a

moment, and say your last words in

silence.

I bow to you and hold up my lamp

to light you on your way.”

Kim was a quintessential Capetonian. At his memorial service, a black t-shirt was worn, showing the silhouette of one of the Natural Wonders of the World, the three peaks comprising Cape Town’s world-famous skyline: Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s head.

Over the ridge where Kim died, hovered the shape of a heart.

In the words of a friend: “You will miss him forever. That is his immortality.

Until the end of time, our grief, vulnerability and gratitude will be forever reawakened, when each of us look up to Table Mountain.

For its majesty and grace, cruelty and beauty, are too vast to avert our eyes.

· Kim Williams is survived by his mother, Mary Comrie, his brothers Murray Williams, Rory Williams, Daniel Comrie, Aidan Williams and his sister Susan Comrie – and nieces and nephews Nic, Maya, Andrew, Stella, Ava, Paige and Bethany.

· Messages and memories may be posted at https://www.rememberingkim.co.za