Recently, a US millionaire left his daughters a million-dollar inheritance, on condition that they fulfil a bucket list legacy he left behind, including graduating from university and being a caregiver to their mother.
The Afropolitan contacted several local movers and shakers and posed this question: what bucket list legacy would you leave for your children? What life lessons would you want them to learn?
Cheryl-Jane Kujenga – partner at Ernst & Young
My children must understand they are privileged to participate in life. They cannot have a sense of entitlement, as there are no guarantees that what you have today you will have tomorrow. I want them to engage and participate, as you only get out of life what you put in. Don’t be afraid of hard work – life doesn’t come handed to you on a platter. I want to bring up someone who is humble and comfortable in their own skin.
As teenagers, they must take on a job of some sort, even if it’s running errands. As adults, I would want them to start a small business. Another requirement would be that they join a team to learn to participate and serve with others – preferably something that serves a cause and makes the world a better place.
Family matters – there are certain things you just do for family, so be willing to give. Learn to engage with your family, especially in times of need, as it is a balance of give and take. I would want my kids to spend time with family in Zimbabwe once a year and get to know them.
I want my kids to travel, to be exposed to life. I want them to go out there and learn, read books, be curious about life. Travel to unusual places, not just the standard tourist destinations, and find out what life is like in Nigeria.
With regard to their spirituality, I am a big believer in God and would request that they continue going to church, together with the rest of the family.
Brenda Sisane – Kaya FM music presenter, director at SP!N Productions
Volunteer with an old-age home, a children’s home, a home for the disabled or a hospice, and play your part in the struggle of a human being who has limitations. This should include taking your personal time in order to be there for somebody voluntarily. The evidence of having served someone else should be provided as testimonials by the beneficiaries.
Be part of an exchange programme and be part of a strange family. This can be in a home or in a commune, where you will learn how similar we are as human beings: in our differences, how we are all affected by the same longings for validation, how every society has a class system. Evidence of having done this will be documented in a video interview, where you relate your lessons to a neutral person.
Find yourself through an extramural activity of your choice, be it art or sport-related. Share with us how it taught you self-mastery.
Spend time alone for a week without the trappings of modern life. Share how you learnt to listen to nature and how this excursion contributed to your perceptions about life.
Travel to an unknown destination by yourself and learn to make relationships on your own through trusting your own judgement. Write a journal about your trip to share with your children one day.
Lesego Matabane – marketing manager at Club Med South Africa
It’s only through education that you will unearth your abilities. You need to be both street-smart and book-smart. Street-smart means being aware and making clever, informed decisions, so spend time with street-smart people. Then there’s the formal side, the book-smart education. Learn from those that are qualified. Start saving for your own children’s education.
Create your own family values, family motto and family traditions. Don’t take people for granted. I want you to have a family tree, to help you understand who your family members were, how you fit in and the legacies that they left behind. Map out your own family tree – who will be next in your future and what legacy you want to leave behind.
Travel at least once a year overseas, but discover your own continent as well. Leave your footprint in every continent, and take something that is ‘proudly South African’ with you and give it to someone in whichever country you will be visiting. Make friends when travelling… you never know when you might need them.
Spirituality is a reformation process. Take time to be by yourself and spend 10–15 minutes a day, alone. Take note of your feelings, your thoughts and write them down. Always be in pursuit of finding your true purpose.
Form honest and genuine relationships. Give what you want to receive. Walk away from negative people; in fact, run. Let your word be honourable. You will form many relationships in your life – make them count.
Hlomla Dandala – actor, television presenter and director
My children must finish at least one undergraduate course, which includes business management and entrepreneurial skills. The education will act as a means to fulfilling their dreams. I wanted to be an actor, but my father made sure I got a degree in acting before I could pursue the dream.
My kids are not allowed to get married before 30! No one truly knows themselves before they are 30. In our 20s, we are merely representations of who we think we should be and what other people want us to be, but we are not ourselves. When we get into our 30s, we realise who we aren’t, while our 40s is when we find out who we are and, in my opinion, that is the best time to settle down – but I don’t want my kids to hate me, so I will give them 30!
Before my five children inherit any of my money, they must show to have truly kept the bond that we have fostered between them as a blended family. While I would love for them to be best friends forever, I realise that may not be possible, so I will settle for them having a meal together at least once a week. Non-negotiable!
Their passports must show that they have travelled to more than 20 countries in Africa and gotten to know about those cultures first-hand. In a world that is obsessed with all things Western, we lose so much by not engaging a Pan-African mindset.
Whichever Higher Power you believe in, get to know them personally. Don’t live on a faith that is based on someone else’s experience, because it won’t sustain you. If you say God is a provider, it should be because he has provided for you or for someone you know.
Some final wishes range from the bizarre to the macabre. Here are several noteworthy last requests.
Who: Angel Pantoja Medina
What: Angel requested to be embalmed, so he could stand up at his own funeral.
Fulfilled: Yes. Angel was embalmed and propped up in his mother’s San Juan home, wearing a New York Yankees cap and sunglasses.
Who: Gene Rodenberry
What: Best known for masterminding the original Star Trek TV series, Gene requested his body be cremated and sent into the heavens.
Fulfilled: Yes. In 1997, his ashes were scattered in space by a Spanish satellite as it orbited Earth. And 10 years later, his wife’s ashes were also shot out into space.
Who: Samuel Bratt
What: Mr Bratt clearly held a grudge against his wife, who refused to allow him to smoke his beloved cigars in the house. He left her his fortune with the stipulation that she smoke five cigars a day for the rest of her life.
Fulfilled: Reports are unconfirmed… but it was a sizeable estate, so we are guessing she sacrificed her dignity to gain the funds.
Who: Jeremy Bentham
What: On his death in 1832, Jeremy, a British philosopher and social reformer, left his estate to the London Hospital and requested his preserved remains be allowed to preside over board meetings.
Fulfilled: Yes. Jeremy’s skeleton was reassembled, dressed and put in a wooden cabinet with a glass front. Jeremy presided over College Committee meetings and in minutes it was recorded: “Jeremiah Bentham, present but not voting.”