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Friday, August 2, 2019


(Fran Marks)

Frances (Fran) Marks, a respected personality in the promotion of the South African music industry along with her husband Dave Marks, died peacefully on June 22, 2019, in Port Shepstone Hospital after a battle with Alzheimer's.

Born in 1948, Fran was a music director, producer and archivist of 3rd Ear Music since1970, producing records and CDs and involved with their distribution through the SABC and the music media. She also publicised and managed music festivals as well as theatre, music productions and events.

She was educated at Durban Girls’ High and studied Speech and Drama at the Kathleen Beer Drama Studios, going on to become a speech and drama teacher herself, teaching at Gordon Road Girls’ School, Durban Girls’ College and St James School.

Together, Dave and Fran Marks have largely self-funded the archiving of almost 50 years of South Africa’s music heritage.

(Right: Fran Marks, Johnny Clegg & Dave Marks)

Among the outpouring of tributes after her death was a message from South African theatre icons, Des and Dawn Lindberg:

“When a beloved friend leaves us behind in this strange strange world we live in, we can but treasure the sweet memories we have from happier times, when David and Fran Marks were inseparably together on the South Coast, strolling along the railway line and down along the beach.

“David's loss is unimaginable ... the family's loss is huge, and we send them all our love and unforgettable recollections of Fran, as our strange strange world tries to deal with the loss of this warm, kind, generous, loving, caring mother, wife, grandmother, sister, friend and co-conspirator in her lifelong desire to make the world a better, happier, more peaceful and less strange and greedy place. RIP dear Fran, hugs for dear Dave. .... from your old buddies, Des and Dawn.”

This tribute is from Cheyenne (25), Fran and Dave’s eldest granddaughter:


I didn’t get to see my Gogo in the last months of her illness. Everything in my life, during that time, prohibited me from going over and seeing her. I wish I could have held her hands that were always so strong and used to hold mine back with such vigor. I wish I could have rested my head on her soft chest, that was my comfort and safe place growing up. Early morning news on sabc three in Gogo and Davey’s bed. They weren’t just granny and grandpa, they were my Gogo and Davey, my protectors and my biggest fans.

But, I walk away with the memory of fresh vegetables and orange juice, salads before dinner, clanking dishes and laughing on the telephone. Reminders to stand up straight and talk beautifully, to say my timetables and to practice my Afrikaans. Be still, she would tell me, when the world felt like it was crashing down.

The only thing I can say now, when I look back on those moments, was that the world was never really crashing down when she was close to me. I have these memories of being worried about things and feeling immediately calm when I would see her, or even speak to her. I remember calling her on the phone every day, about two or three years ago, and crying about my heartbreak or worry. Most people would have told me to snap out of it or get over it. Not my Gogo. She listened every day, she consoled and comforted me, even being miles away, she was warmth for me, when I felt like I had none.

Gogo’s life wasn’t one that just happened. It was a life that touched everyone elses, that made you feel what unconditional love is, that made you understand forgiveness and practice it. She defined selflessness and motherhood, she expressed herself through her smile and her laugh and her affection. She was a constant positive light, never flickering or fading: Always bright and warm. She was everything good in this world and she still is, she is still very much present, because I can still feel the warmth from her, maybe even more so now that she’s finally at peace.

I love you Gogo and I pray that your spirit continues to shine through all of you children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Cheyenne Lucey”

This tribute is from Rose-Lee Smith, the youngest of Fran and Dave’s children:

“Last night was the first time I've dreamt of my mom. She was her old, enthusiastic, articulate, tanned, bright-eyed, gracefully mobile, strong self (everything that she wasn't these last few months). In my dream she stopped taking her medication which turned out to actually be the cause of her deterioration, and the relief and joy we all felt to see her healed and back to normal was actually just indescribable. It was all so real that waking up in the morning felt like she had died a second time. Unimaginably heartbreaking. But the images I have of her now from last night warmed my soul and I look forward to seeing her this way again in my dreams very soon. Rose-Lee Smith”

Dave Marks responded to the many messages:

Thank you, dear friends and family, for the love and laughs you shared... she will be with us, dancing and singing and sharing her love and light with you all, for always. I'm at a loss for words, so please just remember the good times and the love and light she shared; play some music, sing a song... and her Spirit will fly and dance free forever. I'm going to miss her so. She has been my life, my love, for 49 years... 4 lovely children, 9 grandchildren and now Cheyenne will give her a great grandchild. Namaste”

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