The country of South Africa has been hurt where it hurts the most. One of its most illustrious sons has been taken away from it once again. Professor Russel Botman has passed on at his home in Stellenbosch on Friday. Professor Botman was the rector and vice chancellor of the Stellenbosch University at the time of his death. He joined Stellenbosch University in the year 2000 in the department of theology and missionology and was further promoted to the position of vice rector in 2002. At the time of his death, he was an internationally recognized theologian who advised the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in Geneva on a host of topics and issues.
Professor Botman died in his sleep at the age of sixty and is survived by his wife, Beryl Verna and their four children aged 21, 19, 14 and 9 years old. He has been actively involved in many theological seminars, presentations and the great debate in South Africa. Professor also had a number of awards under his belt from a number of renowned institutions both in South Africa and the world over. Consequently, tributes when his death was announced on On Saturday, started pouring in from far and wide.
Commenting on this untimely death, Archbishop Desmond Emeritus Tutu said this represented a great loss for educational institutions. He said Professor Botman had shown that black people could manage complex educational institutions well and South Africa was very proud of him. archbishop Tutu added that as a young man, Botman had been a precocious and courageous church leader who had emerged in the cauldron of the 1980s peoples’ struggles against apartheid. Adding her voice to the wail for this great loss, the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille said that Botman would be remembered for his role in the fight against apartheid, adding that his death was a great loss to the City of Cape Town and the country of South Africa as a whole. She bemoaned the fact that Botman would no longer be there to continue his fight for social justice. Professor Botman, she said, had made immeasurable contribution to the higher education landscape and had been committed to transformation.
Commenting on the sudden passing on of this icon, the municipality of Stellenbosch said that the world had been left poorer because of the death of Professor Botman since he had more to offer the city and country as a whole in terms of leadership and a vision for promoting justice, transformation and reconcilliation. The spokesman for the municipality, Mr Vernon Bowers said they would continue to to promote the ideals Botman believed in. Mr Bowers added that the world had lost a leader who had fought for justice, transformation and reconcilliation since his days as a student at the University of the Western Cape.