Flags fly at half-mast in Stellenbosch

By admin
30 June 2014

Stellenbosch University has lost rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Russel Botman, who passed away suddenly on Friday night.

Flags in Stellenbosch will be flown at half-mast following the death of Stellenbosch University rector and vice-chancellor Prof Russel Botman, the municipality said on Monday.

"The reality and impact of Botman's sudden passing has left the town grappling with the great loss it has experienced over the weekend," spokesman Vernon Bowers said in a statement.

"Botman, a world renowned theologian, social innovator, and transformer, will surely be missed at the Stellenbosch municipality."

Botman died in his sleep at his home in Stellenbosch on Friday night. He was 60.

Bowers said a mayor and rector's forum amplified the close relationship between the municipality and university.

"The forum has been in place for many years and was responsible for mapping a path of transformation, development, and a better life for not only the student community but the town as well," Bowers said.

"Mayor Conrad Sidego remembers how he and Prof Botman laid a wreath in memory of the late state president and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela, on December 10, 2013."

While goodbyes were said to great leaders, one could not forget the contribution Botman and others made in shaping future leaders.

"Our condolences once again go out to his wife Beryl, four children, the university community, Stellenbosch, South Africa, and the world," he said.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said his death was a loss to South Africa.

"He had a way of managing complex societal and transformation issues with wisdom and gave us all guidance from time to time," Motshekga said in a statement.

"Botman's contribution to the fight against apartheid and the important role he has played in both the education and religious sectors of the country will always be highly valued."

She said Botman had immense moral integrity and was a true leader in the religious sector and education.

Parliament's higher education portfolio committee on Monday expressed its shock and sadness at Botman's death.

"The committee sends the deepest condolences to Prof Botman's family, friends, colleagues and the university community at large for the loss of this tremendous asset," it said in a statement.

Botman's dedication, experience and knowledge contributed immensely to education and South African society.

- SAPA

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