Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has paid tribute to Professor Russel Botman, the Vice Chancellor of Stellenbosch University.
Botman passed away in his sleep at his home in Stellenbosch on 27 June.
“Undoubtedly, Professor Botman is a central figure in the unfolding narrative of Stellenbosch University (SU). His appointment as the first black Rector and Vice Chancellor of that university is also a testament to the recognition of need for transformation within the university in order for it to be embraced into the wide and diverse South African family,” said the minister at a memorial service on Thursday.
Minister Brown said as an academic and religious leader, Botman contributed to the education and understanding of thousands of religious leaders.
Botman joined the university in 2000 as Professor in the Department of Practical Theology and Missiology.
“The challenges at SU were great, institutional segregation was entrenched, contestations about language of instruction, enforced separation of residences, and a myriad of other obstacles hindered the way of transformation. Prof Botman had to deal with this and many other challenges,” she said.
Minister Brown said it was important for universities to engage with communities in meaningful ways.
“This is where higher education institutions should also exert an influence in terms of the status of women in society.”
On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma conveyed his condolences to the Botman family.
“South Africa has lost one of the leading lights of our higher education transformation,” he said.
Source : SAnews.gov.za