Professor found dead in UWC swimming pool

2018-04-13 13:58
University of the Western Cape.(Jenni Evans, News24, file)

University of the Western Cape.(Jenni Evans, News24, file)

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The body of an associate professor and chairperson of the Department of English at the University of the Western Cape was found in the campus swimming pool on Thursday afternoon, the institution has said.

Michael Wessels, a regular swimmer, was found dead by a lifeguard.

On Friday, UWC spokesperson Professor Cherrel Africa said Wessels had been found during the changeover of lifeguards.

"The new person found the body alone in the pool," Africa said.

"The UWC community is extremely saddened by his death."

Professor Duncan Brown, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, described Wessels as a "wonderful man - an exceptional researcher and teacher, a truly fine colleague, a considerate and generous leader, and an empathetic friend".

"He was one of those whose passing makes the world seem a poorer place - but who leaves us all better off for having had the chance to know him.

"Michael is survived by his wife, Lindsay, and his sons, Tao and Akira. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and also with his colleagues and friends, in this very painful time," Brown said.

According to the university's website, Wessels is the author of Bushman Letters, published in 2010.

His research "explores new ways of reading San oral literature and the politics of indigeneity", while he also wrote about the representation of place and spirituality in South African literature.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said an inquest docket was being investigated to determine the cause of death.

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