Dr Brian Stuckenberg (76) dies

2009-02-12 00:00

Dr Brian Stuckenberg (76), entomologist, museum director and one of the first people to exhibit historical artefacts from the apartheid era, died on Saturday.

Stuckenberg graduated from Rhodes University with a Masters degree with distinction in entomology and obtained his Doctorate in Dipterology (study of flies) from the University of Natal.

Through his research on flies, he travelled throughout the world and has a collection of African flies named after him in the Natal Museum. This collection is the largest in the world.

One of his discoveries was the fossil of a blood sucking fly (Palaeoarthroeles mesozoicus) dating back to over 175 million years ago. Before his find, fossils dating back 70 million years in the Cretaceous period were believed to have been the oldest.

Stuckenberg was awarded the title of honorary member of the International Congress of Dipterology, the first person in Africa and fourth in the world to receive this award.

In 1999, he was awarded the Premio Admiral Teixeira Award by the National Maritime Academy in Portugal for solving the mystery of a 1585 shipwreck in Santiago.

Stuckenberg started working at the Natal Museum in 1953 as a research officer and in 1975 was appointed the director.

He was particularly interested in generating awareness of museums as instruments of social change and national reconciliation.

After a trip to Germany in 1989, he was shocked to discover that there were no historical artefacts depicting Nazi Germany.

“Through museums you can discover your own history and culture. Sometimes people oppose their pasts when they are confronted with them. I suppose museums can make you angry or proud,” he told a Witness reporter in 1993 after the launch of ‘Amandhla’, the museum’s first apartheid exhibition.

Stuckenberg not only focused on educating people about their pasts, he also spent time in the U.S. in 1990 doing research on ways to make science fun for children and helping them adapt to a technological society, with the aim of fostering interest in a scientific career.

Dr Jason Londt, a colleague and friend of Stuckenberg, described him as being “very private, quiet and intellectual”. “He was an exceptional scientist in a league of his own. He was highly respected as a scientist and as a person and all his colleagues admired and liked him. He will be missed.”

Stuckenberg is survived by his wife Pam and three children.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.