Prof’s death ‘a loss to the city’

2017-12-19 06:00
The late professor Richard van der Ross.

The late professor Richard van der Ross.

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The City of Cape Town has sent condolences to the family of Professor Richard van der Ross from Plumstead, a Freeman of the City of Cape Town, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 96.

Professor van der Ross was awarded the Freedom of the City, the highest civic honour, on 5 September 1988. He was a recipient of the Freedom of the City along with other great giants, including former President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and Struggle stalwart Ahmed ­Kathrada.

The Freedom of the City recognises extraordinary contributions or acts of service to the City and its residents. These include upholding the rights of others, serving one’s community above oneself, and contributing to nation building through outstanding service and achievements.

In a statement, Mayor Patricia de Lille says Professor Van der Ross was a great son of Cape Town who made an immense contribution to the City as a teacher and activist during apartheid. He was the first editor of the Cape Herald, and the rector of the University of the Western Cape. He was also the first principal at Grassy Park Secondary School and that same year became the first coloured man to receive a doctoral degree in South Africa.

Most recently in 2016, he released his book, In Our Own Skins: A Political History of the Coloured People.

“This is a great loss to the City and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his two children, Ben van der Ross and Freda Brock, and his seven grandchildren, family and friends. They are all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” says De Lille.

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