Open Letter to Unogwaja

By March 7, 2017My Blog

Dear Unogwaja,

We have reached an incredible moment in our journey together! I can still remember as if it were yesterday the time before you were not even alive and were literally just an unlikely dream I should give up on and try again later when I am better prepared, or so I was told by many people. Jees I’m super glad I never listened to them and just gave it my all!

It is quite something to look at you now – approaching your 7th birthday (you have grown up fast!!) – standing on your own two feet – well several hundred feet and arms joined together from all over South Africa and right the way across the world. I stand in awe at what you have become!

You are the closest thing in my life right now to understanding what it is like to bring a child into this world. I think every father will relate to this moment and this letter I am writing.

I can feel how compelling it is to keep you close forever as the kind of love and protection I feel for you is like nothing I have ever felt before and all I want is for you to be great as you can be! And I got your back like no other!

But in order for you to be truly great. You have to be YOU. And I have to allow you to find your own way and give you the space to do this. Your life does not belong to me or anyone else. I am just grateful for this chance to shine my light through you. That’s your gift. That’s what you allow people to do. You help us prepare to be able to stand alone. That’s an amazing gift!

So now is the time that we say goodbye to the relationship that we have had and welcome in a new chapter of our lives.

This is what I sent to my father (The Stoff – you know him pretty well) at a similar moment in our lives:

“Dad, I am going to walk my own path from here on in. You have given me everything that I could possibly need to be able to walk tall and be capable of flourishing with integrity in any surrounding – from board room, to stage, to strip joint, to sports field. You name it. “Walk with kings – nor lose the common touch”. I got this brother. You have more than done your job.”

If I have given you a hundredth of what my father has given me I will be a happy and proud man. All I know for sure is, I have given all that I have got.

I’m so proud of you and will always be your dad. (And going forward a dedicated trustee, just in case you were wondering).

Oh and just one thing before I sign off, look after yourself – you are no good to anyone burnt out and tired!

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”

Hamba gahle




About Bodhi

In conventional speak, John McInroy is a South-African born social activist, humanitarian, social entrepreneur, ultra endurance athlete, international field hockey player, actor and vegan yogi. In more authentic terms, Bodhi is a human you may see walking the streets barefoot trying to find new ways to tread as lightly as possible.


  • Shan says:

    Wow, no words

  • M says:

    Wow. Exciting times. Can’t wait to hear what this means next for both of your journeys!

    • John says:

      Yes! I’m glad you can feel it! I feel the same way. A really exciting time for Unogwaja and for me personally. Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for taking the time to share your feelings. Much love M.

  • Deborah Cowman says:

    What a beautiful letter, John. I am so proud of you…it is such an honor to be your friend! May you always be surrounded with love and good friends on your life’s journey.
    Love, hugs, and blessings, Deborah

    • John says:

      Thank you Deborah as always for your genuine presence and care in my life despite being so far away. I feel it strongly. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to cross paths with you again. Keep shining beautiful lady. My love to Don and everyone at the Museum!

  • Ceci says:

    Always proud of you and thankful that your light has reached me three years ago. also the people in Hamburg know the story and it gives them hope. will always travel with you John and carry you in my heart. I cannot wait to go on this journey in may – more than super excited but in the first place happy to call you my friend. love cec xxx

    • John says:

      Ceci – I feel really honoured to have crossed paths with you and to witness the light you are shining in Hamburg and everywhere you go! I promised a visit one day and I am a lot closer to you now so I hope to see you soon! ShhhoooOOOOOooooopps!!

  • Stephen Granger says:

    You have been a huge inspiration to so many through pursuing your dream, John. And now you have had the courage to do what many of us find so difficult – let our child go. I know you will always be there along the Unogwaja road as a parent (and yes, even as a grandparent!) and I look forward to connecting with you there and elsewhere.

    • John says:

      You bet!! I am so grateful and excited! Thank you for your part in Unogwaja and most importantly your wonderful friendship and counsel. It’s the dawn of a new era! See you along the way Stephen

  • cruiky says:

    posted on my Birthday!! Well done Maccy!

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