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A Brief Personal Resume
By Richard Mark Holden

Descendant of Edward Fripp of Chitterne, Wiltshire (c.1616-1680)

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 13th September 1952, the second son of Zoe Frances (nee Fripp) and Francis Leonard Holden. My mother Zoe is the youngest daughter of Leopold Henry Fripp.

I attended the University of the Witwatersrand, where I was awarded a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1974 at the age of 22, with three Graduate Awards. In 1996 I was awarded a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pretoria.

I married Lillian Frieda Aspinall in 1977 and had three sons - Jeremy Thomas Holden (born 5th October 1978), Mark Wesley Francis Holden (born 13th June 1981) and Paul Edward Holden (born 21st April 1983). I divorced Lillian in 1992 and came out publicly, in 1994 on national television, as a gay man who raised his three sons on his own.

I practised architecture until 1992, when I edited "Planning" Magazine for two years, receiving the Siemens Award for Journalistic Excellence in 1993 and then joined the City of Johannesburg, where I am still employed as an urban planning and sustainable building specialist as well as serving as the statutory Building Control Officer for the City of Johannesburg.

Like my Fripp forebears, I have an abiding interest in art and am an amateur painter, depicting urban landscapes and various abstract themes in the medium of acrylics.

I was active in gay community activities in the 1990's and addressed a crowd of 100 000 people at the 1996 Paris Gay Pride Parade as the representative of Johannesburg Gay Pride. I have made a number of television appearances in connection with gay parenting issues. I married my partner of 10 years, William Henry Stewart, on 29th January 2007, shortly after the legalisation of gay marriage in South Africa.

Most recently, my family were featured in an exhibition entitled "Home Affairs" at the Johannesburg Apartheid Museum: the exhibition focused on unconventional families and in particular on gay and lesbian marriages and the kinds of family arrangements that resulted. The above photograph was taken when William and I were married - Jeremy Thomas Holden is signing the register, with his wife, Tamara Lee in the background. William Henry Stewart is on the left and I am in the centre.

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