When Peter Roebuck took his own life “he took his demons and deadlines with him,” says contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.
When deified cricket writer and Englishman Peter Roebuck took a 70-foot suicide dive from the sixth floor of the Southern Sun Hotel, in the South African suburb of Claremont on November 12, he took his demons and deadlines with him.
The Guardian later reported that police were about to arrest Roebuck on a sexual assault charge, when he jumped to his death.
What would the ghosts of the indigenous Khoisan tribespeople and their British colonisers have made of all of this?
Some believe that upon the moment of death, our demons take up residence in the bodies of others; demonic asylum seekers. As well we might all be.
It was very moving to read the ensuing poetic epithets dedicated to Peter Roebuck by well-known and gifted sportswriters, at times expressing something that came close to love, but which, to this outsider, seemed to stop just short of that — perhaps lest affection was misinterpreted for something else.
After all, Australians put the ‘ale’ in ‘male’. If our blokes were any tougher, they’d rust — to misquote my favourite ad. And all of that.
Was Roebuck a pederast? A paedophile? A rapist?
Colleagues and friends of many years standing said they were unsure of his sexuality. Did the oppressive dictums and foggy homoerotica that so often is the shy underlay of butch ocker locker-room banter discourage him from confiding in anyone or being more open about his sexual preferences?
Does it matter? Is it anybody else’s business? Maybe, in Roebuck’s case.