|Richard Hall retired statistician and 'Mr Melville Koppies', loves Jo'burg because there is "so much going on". At 82, after living in the city for around 50 years, he should know.|
He loves the music, the theatre and the many talks that take place. "I like the activity, I like doing things," he smiles, a charming, barely-wrinkled smile.
Since his retirement in 1985, Melville Koppies Nature Reserve has become his passion. He spends two mornings a week tramping around the koppies of the reserve, clearing alien plants, organising new trails and training guides, with little anxiety about his personal safety on the lonely Koppies.
And whereas most 82-year-olds would go home and rest after that, Richard goes home and organises meetings and finalises plans for the continued preservation of the Koppies. He is a member of a number of environmental bodies.
Richard hall died on 12 May 2010 at the age of 90.
Melville Koppies has become "an obsession" with him. It gives him "tremendous stimulus, and energy. There is constantly something new, and you can see the results of your work. It gives a purpose to life."
Says Wendy Carstens, chairman of the Melville Koppies Committee: "Richard is the main mover behind the preservation of Melville Koppies. There is nobody with the push and tenacity that he has - he gets an idea, follows it through and lets nothing get in the way of its execution."
Born and educated in Cape Town, Hall served as a lieutenant in the Second World War, and has been a mathematical statistician for 35 years.
"I am very happy in Johannesburg. When I settled in Johannesburg, it was very vibrant. Cape Town is very cliquey - they are very engrossed in the sea," he adds.
Hall is a member of the Johannesburg Musical Society and enjoys the National Sympathy Orchestra concerts. He used to enjoy going to the theatre and the cinema, but doesn't go much anymore.
He admits that there is another purpose to his life - he has a very close relationship with his three grandchildren.
Grandchildren, Melville Koppies, concerts . . . sounds like a great way to keep busy, and enjoy the city.