Cape Town – Professor Richard van der Ross, author, former teacher, anti-apartheid activist and Freeman of the City of Cape Town, has died at the age of 96.In a statement issued by Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, Van Der Ross was hailed for his contribution, not only to the City, but to the whole nation.Van Der Ross was awarded the highest civic honour – the Freedom of the City – on September 5, 1988 - an accolade he shares with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Ahmed Kathrada."The Freedom of the City recognises the extraordinary contributions or acts of service to our city and its residents," the statement reads."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, the first editor of the Cape Herald, and the rector of the University of the Western Cape," the statement read."Most recently, in 2016, he released his book In Our Own Skins: A Political History of the Coloured People." Van der Ross is survived by his two children, Ben van der Ross and Freda Brock, and seven grandchildren."They are all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.