26 May, 2019

Blog

Richard de Zoysa; From A ‘Gang’ Member

By Suren Ratwatte –

Suren Ratwatte

Suren Ratwatte

Richard de Zoysa was one of my best friends. A lot of people can probably say this. He was that kind of person. Charming, handsome, fiercely intelligent, compassionate, an amazingly versatile thespian, a talented musician, the whole package really. Richard and his mother Manorani had an amazing relationship. More like siblings than mother and son. Together they created a refuge for young people in their home that was welcoming, accepting, non-judgemental and wonderfully eccentric.

We were part of a large and rather polyglot ‘gang’ that hung out at the Arts Centre Club in the late 1980s. The country was going through an awful time, but we were young and somehow managed to have fun despite the horrors we were surrounded by. The Arts Centre itself was a little oasis of diversity, where everyone was accepted and where we all got along. That too is long gone.

Richard de ZoysaRichard was a celebrity, before the age such people were idolized. We thought nothing of hanging out with “Kingsley Putha” of soap opera fame, the reader of the nightly news. Richard reading the evening news, in a high collared tunic with his wonderfully evocative expressions, was a treat. One that, thankfully, the bureaucrats who ran the TV station never appreciated.

Among my last memories of Richard come from my wedding, where he danced with abandon, while charming my bride’s two young sisters into dancing with him. His grace and vivacity, the rich baritone he sang in and the sheer exuberance of his personality did much to help us enjoy our special day, despite the horrors going on at the time.

All too soon those same horrors would consume Richard. One of the most talented, brave and brilliant voices of our generation was silenced for political ends that I still fail to understand.

“ Still are thy sweet voices, thy nightingales, awake. For death he taketh all away, but those he cannot take”.

Rest in Peace dear friend. We will always miss you.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    0

    One of thousands murdered by the UNP death squads. Where were the US/UN/UK then?

  • 6
    0

    “The day the music died” in Colombo.

  • 3
    0

    Hi…. Yes, met Richard through Nikira many times at the ACT… Wonderful person indeed…

    • 0
      0

      Nikira was my funny, talented and crazy cousin and Richard whom my family has known since I was a child, both wonderful personalities and both gone now.

  • 4
    0

    i have met richard he was an amazing personality, his murder should be investigated.

  • 3
    0

    Yahapalanya began only on the 8th January 2015 when the UNP was reborn as “Avihinsa, Just, Righteous” political part, burying the decades of history behind with that murders, white vans, corruption, bribery, dirty deals, pilfering of state lands and businesses and immoral deals with LTTE while at the sametime leaking out Intelligence Services activities to the enemy. Alleluja!

  • 4
    0

    I don’t have much regard for the Queens language but your writing is excellent, Suren. Why don’t you take up writing even more seriously: a novel or your life story perhaps?. I have a hunch it will sell well…

    • 3
      0

      Thanks Paul. Have this thing called a job that keeps getting in the way :(

  • 4
    0

    Suren, reminiscence of the good times aside, what are you folks doing to bring the marauders to justice.

    Remember it’s the current UNP regime who was responsible for Richard’s murder. Snatched way from his mother, from his home, murdered, then doing a Jesu Christ on us all.

    Tell us, tell us, what are you folks doing to bring justice for Richard ?

    By not asking, you nod to the culture of impunity, so entrenched in our motherland.

  • 1
    0

    The killers of Richard were also killed at the same place,at the same time on 1st May 1993! Perhaps Divine Justice!

  • 4
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    What an awful day that was. Living down the same road/lane as Richard, I remember as a teenager running over to the house when we heard the sad news… And unfortunately there was no happy ending even though we all prayed for it.:-(

  • 3
    3

    If this Suren bugger is the son of Anurudha Ratwatte, then isn’t he the one who murdered Kumar Ponnambalam?

  • 1
    0

    Richard was very talented and inspirational….. and the voice.

  • 5
    0

    Tamil from the North.

    Do you for a moment think that the sons of Anuradha Ratwatte are capable of writing in the first place? Perhaps,you need to look at the photo again and reread the article.This has been written by a cultured Gentleman about another.
    Richards mother belongs to that illustrious family of the Saravanamuttus.Lohan Ratwattes daughter is engaged to one of MARAs sons.Birds of a feather flock together!

    • 2
      0

      @Plato, now I see I am wrong in my assessment. I was not sure either, hence I said “If…….”. Now I see he is not the son of the Ratwatte thug. Thanks for your clarification.

  • 2
    0

    Tamil from the north.

    Thanks.Cheers!

  • 5
    0

    I have to say I am deeply sorry for insulting this wonderful man Suren in this string. Suren, it was a big mistake on my part and I hope you will accept my apologies.

  • 1
    0

    All the Srilankan politicians are murderous people No one is better
    Richard De Soouzya’s life was also taken by the then well known U.N.P poltician Premadasa

    “The Mills of God Grind Slow But Sure”

  • 0
    0

    Premadasa, Ranjan WIjeyaratne, Ranchagoda (cop) and Ronnie Goonesinghe (cop)were involved.

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