Allan Nestadt (1924-2017)
Paediatrician Dr Allan Nestadt (MBBCh 1948) died in Israel in August 2017, aged 92.
Even at school, it would seem, Allan’s sights were set on becoming a doctor. He had an arrangement with the ambulance authorities in his home town of Benoni – where his father Morris was mayor – that when possible he would accompany them to medical emergencies. Having matriculated from Benoni High, he attended Wits and did his registrarship at the Boksburg-Benoni Hospital. In 1950 he took up residence in the UK, where he worked at the Sheffield and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals and the Bangour General Hospital in Edinburgh. In 1953, he obtained his MRCP (Edin).
Returning home, he was the paediatric registrar at the Johannesburg General, Coronation and Baragwanath Hospitals. In 1960 he moved to Durban, where for 18 years he ran a large private practice as a paediatric consultant. At the same time, he held the appointment of part-time consultant at the Addington Children’s Hospital. The SA Medical Journal and The Lancet published numerous research papers of his on children's illnesses.
In 1955 he married Rebecca Kronik, who had been the secretary of the Wits Student Medical Council, and they had four children. In 1979 they emigrated to Israel, where he continued in private practice as a child specialist in Tel Aviv until his retirement.
He is survived by his children and numerous grand- and great-grandchildren. Rebecca passed away 12 years ago. Allan’s twin brother Stanley, a chartered accountant who lived in San Diego, passed away in January 2018. His youngest brother, Harry (BA 1951, LLB 1954), a retired judge of the South African Supreme Court of Appeal, lives in Sydney. Their brother Gerald (BA 1940), aged 96, lives in Benoni.
Allan will be remembered as a credit to his profession. He had an abiding sense of concern for his patients and above all for his family.
Sources: Benoni City Times 22 August 2017; Harry Nestadt; Sandy Heymann
Arthur Magerman 1933 – 2017
Arthur Magerman (BA 1971) was born in Johannesburg’s Alexandra Township, the son of Joey Magerman and Khatazane Mkhwanazi, and attended the Holy Cross Mission school in Alexandra, matriculating in 1952.
His grandparents were among the first property owners in Alexandra, one of a few places in white cities where black people enjoyed this privilege. He embodied the complex politics of Alexandra, influenced by socialist ideas of the mid-20th century and a deep commitment to this unique space in Johannesburg. In the mid-1950s Magerman was part of a group of young intellectual activists, including Dan Mokonyane, Lawrence and Ethan Mayisela and Simon Noge, who had become critical of the ANC’s politics. They were attracted to socialist ideas and came under the influence of Wits University academic Vincent Swart, who established a local branch of the international socialist organisation, Movement for a Democracy of Content. This organisation, led by Mokonyane, played a leading role in the famous Alexandra bus boycott of 1957 against fare increases. Magerman is said to have walked the 14km each way between Alex and Wits, every day for a month.
In the late 1970s Magerman worked closely with Reverend Sam Buti and Leepile Taunyane in the Save Alexandra Campaign against the apartheid government’s plan to destroy the township. Their success led them to form the Save Alexandra Party, which won the local elections and controlled the township council in the early 1980s.
His son Masimo-a-Badimo says the family sheltered anti-apartheid activists and helped them to leave South Africa to join Umkhonto weSizwe, the ANC’s armed wing. “Our homes in Mmabatho and Alexandra were not only safe houses but weapon storage facilities and transit posts for MKs coming and leaving the country. Marion Sparg, Arnold Geyer and Damian de Lange were the first white people I had seen in our house. He was not shy of using his family to do runs across the border, and would frequently use my young brother, Eugene (currently a doctor in Canada) and I to accompany him to get weapons in and out of Botswana. We provided the perfect father-and-son cover so the border gate soldiers were never suspicious. My elder brother Errol (now in the Gauteng government) worked very closely with him and he was of an age to take more risk. Errol had made a conscious decision to join the underground movement, and he would be one of my dad’s couriers in and out of Botswana and Swaziland.”
Magerman remained active in a number of organisations involved in the development of Alexandra and between 2003 and 2008 served on a history and heritage committee, with other veterans of the township, which collaborated with the History Workshop in researching and writing the history of Alexandra.
“My father was a selfless man who did everything out of principle, never for self-gain or advancing his career. He did it out of great sense of justice, a visceral calling to help those less fortunate,” says Masimo.
Magerman loved Sundowns football club and played golf. He leaves his wife, Gabafiwe Dorothy, and four sons, Errol, Masimo-a-Badimo, Stanley and Eugene.
Cecil Michelow 1925–2017
Maurice Cecil Michelow (MBBCh 1948) died on 20 January 2017 in Springfield, Massachusetts, aged 91. The son of Sara and Harry Michelow, he was born in Johannesburg in 1925 and attended Jeppe Boys’ High School.
He was a pioneer of in vitro fertilisation in South Africa and was internationally acclaimed for assisting a 47-year-old woman to carry triplets for her own daughter in 1987. This was the world’s first mother/daughter surrogate pregnancy.
Dr Michelow once explained how he had come to specialise in this field: in his final year of training at the Medical School, Dr GP Charlewood asked him to help for six weeks as an intern in the temporarily understaffed Gynaecology Department at the newly opened Baragwanath Hospital. After final exams, he returned there and was so busy that he had to ask for permission to attend his graduation. “That seven month internship was the happiest time of my life. I chose obstetrics and gynaecology as my future life’s work.” In 1960 he took on duties at the Infertility Clinic at the Johannesburg General Hospital when its chief consultant resigned. This was a time of many advances in the treatment of infertility, and presented an interesting new field of work. Research flourished after the birth of the world’s first “test-tube baby”, in 1978.
In 2004, Dr Michelow and his wife Berenice moved to the USA to be closer to their family. He was a keen photographer and loved reading and discussing current world events.
He is survived by Berenice (Davis), their sons Bryan and Ian, daughter Diane and their families, who remember him as “a vibrant, brilliant, compassionate and gentle family man with a great sense of humour”.
Cyril Evian (1948–2017)
Dr Cyril Ian Evian (BDS 1971) died in Philadelphia, USA, on 26 January 2017. He studied, taught and undertook research in periodontics and implant dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, and continued to teach after starting his own practice in 1986. He had a passion for teaching and for learning, saying: “I believe you become a great teacher when you understand what students need to develop and grow.” This skill was recognised when UPenn and New York University gave him teaching awards. He also taught at the University of Maryland and Temple University. His family has set up an education fund for dental students, saying: “Education was his obligation, and now we will make it his gift… With immense pride and honour we will give the proceeds in his name to a student that needs a little help from the Cy Guy.”
One of his favourite quotes was: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”
One online tribute called him “the consummate mensch … selfless, hilarious, and wise”.
He leaves his former wife, Andrea Evian, and children Allon Hellmann, Samantha Zemble, Tracy Waasdorp, Debra Chesbrough, and Michael Evian.
David Pettifor (1945-2017)
Physicist David Pettifor (BSc Hons 1967; CBE, FRS) died in October 2017, having changed the way a great deal of materials science is now done.
He was a pioneer of mathematical descriptions, based on quantum theory, of how atoms interact in materials used in technology. He devised “structure maps” of elements which allowed alloy designers to create alloys suitable for jet engines. His vision of modelling materials across length scales involving engineers, materials scientists, physicists and chemists raised the status of theory and modelling in materials science and made the subject less empirical. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1994 and awarded a CBE for services to science in 2005.
David was born in the UK and came to Johannesburg as a young child. He and his twin brother John Pettifor (MBBCh 1968, PhD 1980, DMed honoris causa 2017), who became a distinguished paediatrician and Wits professor, attended St John’s College. David found that maths came naturally to him. He wanted to study chemical engineering at Wits but was persuaded to read physics, which he did under Prof Frank Nabarro FRS, who set the tone for what was expected of a good scientist.
He was involved in several student societies and councils at Wits, and in 1965, at a time of increased political ferment, was elected onto the Executive Committee of the Student Representative Council. He was also a member of the Anglican Students Federation.
After achieving a first with his Wits degree, he went to Cambridge for his PhD, where he performed some of the first computations that began to explain crystal structures of transition metals. In the early 1970s he was uncertain whether to pursue a scientific career in Britain or to be involved in something more overtly social and political. He decided to teach physics at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania for two years, believing at this time that the primary role of scientists in developing countries should be education from primary school to university, in order to build up a scientific base.
He worked in the Mathematical Physics group at Imperial College between 1978 and 1992, where he developed some of his most original ideas including the structure maps. In 1992 he took up the Isaac Wolfson Professorship of Metallurgy at Oxford. Although he had pioneered some of the largest computations he always insisted that computing power is no substitute for good ideas, and he firmly held to Einstein’s maxim “as simple as possible, but not simpler”. There he established the World’s first Materials Modelling Laboratory, which attracted many distinguished visitors.
He played a key role in setting up a partnership between the Royal Society and the National Research Foundation in South Africa, following Nelson Mandela’s release, to help set up centres of excellence in previously black universities, including a Materials Modelling Centre at the University of Limpopo. Despite a constant battle with multiple myeloma for the last 20 years, he returned to South Africa many times to continue this work.
David met his first wife, Ann (born Potgieter, BA 1971), at Wits and they had two sons, Thomas and Christopher. After their divorce he married Di Gold, a stained glass artist, who also had two sons, Matthew and Benjamin, and they lived in the Cotswolds with their four sons.
Source: Prof Adrian Sutton
Desmond Bond (1941-2017)
Desmond Harvey Bond had the unusual accomplishment of being a chemical engineer and a writer and translator. He grew up in Johannesburg and attended King Edward VII School, where he did well in Latin, singing, mathematics and sport. Later in life he became a competitive swimmer, and he always loved music. He qualified in engineering at Wits in 1966, then obtained an MSc in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas and an MA in English at the University of North Texas. He worked as a specialist in engineering and the environment, managing projects in many countries. He had lived in Mobile, Alabama, since 2005 and was married for nearly 47 years to Ann Lillian Snyder Bond, who survives him.
Esmé Berman (1929-2017)
The art historian Esmé Berman (born Cohen) (BA 1950; BA Hons) was one of the “Wits group” of 1948-1950 who studied art under Professor Heather Martienssen. (The group included Cecil Skotnes, Christo Coetzee, Larry Scully and Nel Erasmus.) She went on to produce a comprehensive work, Art and Artists of South Africa (first published in 1970 and followed by several editions), which contains biographical detail on artists and information on related subjects such as art associations and museums. Much of the information was generated by her original research and personal meetings with artists around the country. The first of its kind in South Africa, the book remains a standard reference source, widely used by scholars and learners and praised for its accessible style. Berman generously lodged the research papers and archives relating to this work – an invaluable national resource – with Wits’ Historical Papers.
She also wrote The Story of South African Painting (1975, updated in 1993). In 2010 she published Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and Shadows, a book accompanying a major exhibition curated by Berman and Professor Karel Nel, and offering fresh analyses and interpretations of Preller’s work. She continued to write in her 80s, producing monographs on Walter Battiss, Maggie Laubser, Irma Stern and Hendrik Pierneef.
The University conferred an honorary DLitt degree on Berman in 2016 in recognition of her contribution to the history of art in South Africa. In a newspaper interview, she called this an “utterly unexpected but unequalled accolade”. Speaking about the graduation ceremony, she said: “The mix of the South African anthem with the Latin anthem of my alma mater was indeed a deeply moving moment.”
Berman studied for her Honours degree in Psychology at the same time as her BA in Fine Arts.
In 2014 she wrote for the Wits Review: “My student years at Wits – 1946 to 1950 – spanned a uniquely self-contained chapter in the University’s history. I describe the era as ‘unique’ and ‘self-contained’, because, for those four post-WWII years, campus demographics and character were conspicuously affected by the massive influx of ex-servicemen, impatient to make up for the ‘lost time’ spent in military service, and hugely disdainful of the ‘juvenile’ antics of their teen-aged fellow-freshers…
“At the outset, such frivolity was scornfully dismissed by the jaded old-young veterans, in their macho khaki bunny jackets and clunking army boots. And within the grossly overcrowded halls of academe, the volatile convergence of two such incompatible groups seemed precariously unpromising. Yet, by virtue of some kind of campus alchemy, each faction benefited from encounter with the other, and their integration generated a creative dynamism that was probably unequalled in any other period in the history of Wits.”
She wrote that 27 May 1948 was the opening night of The University Players’ production of Jean Paul Sartre’s The Flies, in which she was playing Electra. “During the intermission between the second and third acts, from portable radios amid the audience – which was anxiously awaiting results of the previous day’s General Election – came the news: that Jan Smuts, leader of the ruling United Party, had lost his seat. From that moment onward, for almost the entire second half of the 20th Century, South Africa was forced to endure the imposition of the oppressive ideology of apartheid.
“For Wits, that election was a turning point. Students of the era spent their university years on both sides of the historical divide.”
After furthering her education in the UK, Berman founded and directed the Children’s Art Centre in Johannesburg and taught physically disabled and underprivileged children. She herself had been born blind in one eye.
In addition to her writing and broadcasting, she lectured at Wits and UCT, acted as a consultant and adviser to the Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation and the Gertrude Posel Gallery (precursor of the Wits Art Museum), and chaired the Johannesburg Art Gallery Jubilee Committee. Her contribution to establishing the Cape Town Trienniale helped to launch the careers of artists like William Kentridge, Penny Siopis and Karel Nel. Her efforts also brought the work of masters like Rodin to South Africa.
In 1971 she founded the Art Institute South Africa, built its Audiovisual Centre in 1978 and in 1984 launched The Patrons’ Trust.
When her husband Hi became Mayor of Sandton, she took on the role of Mayoress. From 1987, the couple lived in Los Angeles, and she lectured at the University of California, the Parsons School of Design and the University of Judaism. They returned in 2002, just before Hi died. Her son David and daughter Kathy survive her; her son Russell died in 1973.
A book about her is in production.
Esmé Joubert (1923-2017)
Elsbeth Rita (Esmé) Joubert (born du Preez) (MBBCh 1947) was the daughter of a station master and housewife in Nuy, near Worcester in the Western Cape. She matriculated in 1940 at Helpmekaar School in Johannesburg and won a scholarship to study medicine at Wits. She married Mauritius Joubert (MBBCh 1947) and they both specialised in neurology. They started the neurosurgical department at Wentworth Hospital in Durban and Dr Mauritius started the Brown School for children with epilepsy. He also headed the neurology department at Ga-Rankuwa Hospital, now named Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital. They had a daughter and three sons, of whom one, Professor Jacques Joubert, is a neurologist in Australia. Dr Mauritius died some years ago and Dr Esme in June 2017, in George, aged 94.
Source: George Herald
Fay Segal (1921-2017)
Professor Fay Segal (MBBCh 1944, DSc Med 1955) was born in Johannesburg and had a remarkable life as a physician at Baragwanath Hospital and Wits Medical School. Through her work, she was a pioneer and advocate for women and civil rights.
She was Principal Specialist Physician in the Department of Medicine at Baragwanath Hospital and Wits from 1954 to 1987. She inaugurated the cardiac unit at Baragwanath in 1955 and was in charge of the diabetic clinic for 10 years. She became an Associate Professor in 1973. She was an exceptional clinician, highly respected by her colleagues in all spheres of clinical and academic practice. Her opinion was frequently sought and valued by other senior physicians. She was actively involved in teaching nurses, medical students and postgraduate students and was an examiner for the College of Physicians of South Africa. She published extensively and co-authored a textbook on congenital heart disease with Professor Leo Schamroth.
Professor Segal was honoured with a War Medal and an Africa Service Medal as she served as a Captain in the Fulltime Volunteer Forces in the South African Medical Corps during World War II.
She married Louis Hirsowitz (MBBCh 1940, DSc Med 1948), who died in 1994. Upon emigrating to the United States to be closer to her family, Professor Segal volunteered as an instructor in the English as a Second Language programme at a local public school in Brookline, Massachusetts and at the Congregation Kehilleth Israel Nursery School. She died in November 2017, aged 96.
Described as a dignified, kind, humble and elegant soul, she is survived by her sons Dr David Hirsowitz (BDS 1975) and Dr Geoffrey Hirsowitz (MBBCh 1975), who both live in the US, and their families. Her sister Sylvia Navon lives in Herzlia, Israel.
Source: Geoffrey Hirsowitz
George Turck (1918-2017)
George Turck (BSc 1949) was one of Wits’ “Donga Doctors” – the special cohort of students who were trained in soil conservation at Frankenwald after they served in World War 2. There were 118 of these graduates.
George served in North Africa and Italy. He was one of the last South Africans to escape from Tobruk in 1941 and fought at El Alamein. After graduating, he worked in what was then Rhodesia for some years and returned to South Africa in 1965. He continued to work in irrigation and agriculture for the Sugar Association and Murray & Roberts (Agricultural Management Service in Lebowa) and was involved in agricultural aerial surveying with the Aircraft Operating Service. In his long career he worked with many of the old Donga Docs, including Reg Loxton, Tony Venn and John Harper.
George grew up in Cape Town and was an expert mountain climber who knew the Cape Peninsula well. While still in Europe after the war, he climbed the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa.
He died in Hout Bay, aged 98, leaving his wife Mary and children Pippa (BSc 1973), Fred and Margie.
The Wits soil conservation programme was set up by Professor John Phillips and became known irreverently as “Prof Phillips’ Marriage Bureau”, as all three of his daughters married ex-servicemen on the course. Mary married George Turck, Jean married Bill Paterson and Marjorie married Ken Birkett. “This made for very happy family gatherings for us cousins as all the uncles knew each other well!” says Pippa.
(Sources: Sentinel News, 14 July 2017; Wits: The Open Years, Bruce K Murray; Pippa Greensmith)
Gilbert Herbert (1924-2017)
Professor Gilbert Herbert (BArch 1947, MArch 1955, DArch honoris causa 1986), fondly known as Gil, was an outstanding architectural historian. Born in Johannesburg and educated at Parktown Boys’ High School, he was a prize-winning student at Wits and on several occasions received the accolade “Scholar of the University”.
On graduation he was offered a teaching post at the University, converted later that year to a full-time permanent lectureship. At the end of 1949 he received a special South African government scholarship to study systems of architectural education, and spent 1950 at the Bartlett School, the Architectural Association, the University of Liverpool, Columbia University, Harvard and the MIT. He was later awarded his Master’s degree for the dissertation “Academic Education in Architecture.” In 1951 he completed his studies for the postgraduate Diploma in Town Planning. In 1969 he obtained the degree of Doctor of Literature and Philosophy from the University of South Africa.
In Johannesburg Prof. Herbert continued his academic career, while at the same time maintaining a modest architectural practice. Most of his work was residential, but two major buildings were the unique Cinerama Theatre, and –as part of a team – the John Moffat Building, which housed the School of Architecture and Fine Arts.
The most prestigious South African architectural award was the Sir Herbert Baker Scholarship, awarded every four years. Herbert was named a Baker Scholar for 1957, and was required to divide the year between Italy and England. Four months were spent in Rome, mainly at the British School at Rome, and two months exploring the architecture of Europe, from Sicily to the Channel coast.
In 1961 Herbert was offered a senior academic post at the University of Adelaide in Australia, where he spent several fruitful years. While on a sabbatical in Europe in 1966 he visited Israel and established contact with the architectural school at the Technion.
When the Herberts returned to Israel in 1968 he was offered a post at the school, which at the time was in a state of turmoil. Herbert’s personality and academic distinction soon earned him the respect of his peers and in a few years he became Dean of the Faculty.
As head of the architectural school at the Technion he was a popular teacher of modern architectural history. Thousands of students enjoyed the benefit of his broad knowledge and systematic teaching. His career is studded with awards and accolades in South Africa, Australia and Israel, and generous praise from such leading figures as Walter Gropius, John Habraken, Lewis Mumford and Sir Nikolaus Pevsner.
When in 1997 the Technion celebrated Herbert’s 50th year as a teacher and researcher, it produced a volume of his collected writings (The Search for Synthesis – The Jubilee Edition). He retired in 1993 but continued his creative output, and his tenth book was published in his 89th year. In 2015 the Faculty of Architecture at the Technion organised a public function celebrating Professor Herbert’s life and achievements.
He died aged 93 in Haifa, leaving his wife Valerie (Ryan) and daughter Margaret (Margalit) Boeangiu. His son Barry died in 1977 in a car accident.
Gil’s obituary in the Royal Institute of British Architects Journal says: “Herbert’s intellectual brilliance was conjoined with a warm, engaging, and affable personality, remarkable administrative and leadership skills, an indefatigable work ethic, and wisdom.”
Sources: Harry Brand; Artefacts; Israelink; RIBA Journal; Family history document
Graham Williamson (1932-2017)
In the May 2017 issue of Wits Review, we featured a book by Graham and Franoise Williamson, The Sperrgebiet: Nature’s Past Masterpiece. Graham passed away on 12 October 2017.
Born in what was Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, he spent his early years on a smallholding, surrounded by unspoilt nature. He started his secondary schooling at Prince Edward School in 1945. Every year he received the form prize for science projects, including “The Birds of the Salisbury District” and “The Microscopic Life of the Makabusi River”. Though he was interested in a career in the natural sciences, he decided to study dentistry at Wits. He was on the House Committee at Cottesloe Residence and, having organised a res dance with the teachers’ training college freshers, met Franoise Clerc there. He moved to Phineas Court in 1956 and married Franoise in his third year. As a student he was also a keen athlete and rugby player, and remained fit all his life, playing competitive squash.
He graduated BDS in 1957 and started his working life in Bulawayo, later moving to Zambia, where he helped build up the dentistry profession. In his spare time he pursued his parallel interest in natural history, producing the book The Orchids of South Central Africa. He regularly visited the UK to keep his dentistry knowledge up to date and used the opportunity to do work at Kew on his botanical projects.
In 1976 the Williamsons moved to Oranjemund, Namibia, where Graham was the dental surgeon and did pioneering work on dental headache. The couple’s studies of the area’s natural history resulted in the Sperrgebiet book. Graham earned a Wits MSc in 1986 for his work on Zambia’s orchids.
He leaves Franoise and their four daughters.
Hertha de Villiers (1924-2017)
The death of Professor Hertha de Villiers (Graf) (MSc 1957, PhD 1963) signals the end of an era for South African anatomy, physical anthropology and forensic science.
She was an inspirational teacher and researcher in two of the University’s Anatomy Departments, and an authority in anthropology and forensic science. Her interest in living people and interdisciplinary research resulted in the production of a statistical and genetics-based analysis of morphology, which had never before been accomplished.
She obtained a first-class BSc at the University of Cape Town and then became a Research Assistant in the Bilharzia Research Unit at the South African Institute for Medical Research.
Professor Raymond Dart the appointed her as a technical assistant in the Department of Anatomy at Wits’ Medical School, where she was involved in the making and painting of facial casts and worked extensively on the department’s skeletal collections.
In 1954 she published three articles which were accepted for a BSc Honours equivalent, and she was appointed as a lecturer in 1956. Her MSc followed in 1957. She was awarded a PhD in 1963 for a thesis entitled: “A biometrical and morphological study of the skull of the South African Bantu-speaking people”. It was published as a book by the University of the Witwatersrand Press in 1968, entitled The Skull of the South African Negro, and was highly cited.
In Darwin’s Hunch, Christa Kuljian writes that this study was “groundbreaking in the sense that she concluded there were no distinguishing features between different cultural or tribal groups. … One of the most striking features about Hertha de Villiers was that she brought rigour and statistical analysis to her science. In addition, despite her lab coat, she carried a sense of glamour and sophistication.”
Her work on archaeological sites introduced her to the field of forensic science, and her work on anatomical differences and similarities contributed a great deal to this discipline in South Africa.
In 1972, she was appointed as Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy. In 1974 she was transferred to the Department of General Anatomy in the Faculty of Dentistry, where she remained until her early retirement in 1984.
She was a role model to many students of anatomy, neuroanatomy, forensic anthropology, genetics and human biology.
In 1992 a festschrift was published in her honour: Variation, Culture and Evolution in African Populations.
Professor Hertha de Villiers is survived by her son and daughter and their families.
Jerry Steele (1931-2017)
Jerrold Turner (Jerry) Steele, a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Finance and Administration of Wits University, was born in Boksburg and went to school at Christian Brothers Colleges in Kimberley and Boksburg. He completed the Certificate in the Theory of Accountancy (1953) and obtained a BCom (1961) and MCom (1966) from Wits. In 2009 the University conferred an honorary DCom on him for his service to financial management in higher education.
He was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Accounting at Wits in 1956, but his interest in information technology gave his career a new direction. He became Director of the University’s Computer Centre and, in 1976, Professor of Applied Mathematics and of Applied Information Processing.
Serving on the Education Committee of the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board, he oversaw the quality of the education and training of articled clerks at universities. He introduced the concept of “academic articles”, whereby trainee accountants could spend part of their articles at university as tutors and junior lecturers. His specialist computer knowledge influenced the education of accountants and the profession itself.
He served Wits as Dean of the Faculty of Commerce between 1979 and 1984 and thereafter for nine years as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Finance and Administration.
Due to his careful and visionary stewardship, the University’s financial position was stronger than that of many South African universities when he retired, despite the pressure imposed by conditions at the time. He was a strong proponent of transparency, well before this became a trend in governance, and developed the University’s first Executive Information System.
In retirement, he played a major role in the higher education sector on matters of governance, financial management and reporting.
Professor Steele captained the Wits Staff XI and played squash.
He is survived by his wife Professor Margaret Steele (BAcc 1980), former head of the School of Accountancy (1987-1995), and their three children, who are all Wits graduates.
Joan Wagner (1927-2017)
Dr Joan Mary Wagner (MBBCh 1949) was an outstanding clinician who had been associated with the Department of Paediatrics for over 50 years, starting at the Transvaal Memorial Hospital for Children (TMH), then at the Johannesburg Hospital. She also trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.
She was in line to succeed Dr Israel Kessel as Consultant Paediatrician at TMH in 1965, but was pregnant with her twins and the post went to Prof Solly Levin.
Joan maintained her interest in general paediatrics by continuing to do ward rounds long after her retirement age. She is remembered with affection by the more junior doctors for not only her clinical skill and her caring attitude to the patients but also for the care she took of the registrars and housemen by providing them with emotional support and food after the ward rounds.
She was the mother of “developmental paediatrics” in South Africa and played a large role in the establishment of this new speciality. She worked with communities to develop services such as Nokuthula School, Harvey Cohen Centre, Sunshine Centre, Selwyn Segal and many others. She was a core member of the team which developed the widely used START early intervention programme.
Her compassion for disabled children and their families knew no limits and extended to paying for their transport, feeding them and making herself available at any time of day if they needed her. She left a legacy for the doctors working in the neurodevelopmental clinics at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic (previously the Johannesburg General), Rahima Moosa and Child (previously Coronation) and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic hospitals.
Joan and her husband, Prof Ian Webster, had four children. She and the late Prof Webster, who was Director of the National Centre for Occupational Health, endowed a medal for the Wits candidate with the best performance in the examinations for the Diploma in Occupational Health.
Joel Joffe (1932-2017)
Joel Goodman Joffe was born in Johannesburg, the son of Abraham and Dena Joffe, and attended Marist Brothers College. He graduated from Wits with a BCom in 1952 and an LLB in 1955. His career in law, business and philanthropy, and especially his contribution in the area of human rights, earned him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wits in 2001.
He qualified as an attorney and later practiced as an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. After the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960, he was planning to emigrate to Australia with his artist wife Vanetta (Pretorius) (BA 1960) and young daughters Deborah and Lisa. James Kantor, his law firm partner, was then arrested, as was Kantor’s brother-in-law, Harold Wolpe, who was the ANC’s lawyer. Joffe agreed to help manage Kantor’s affairs before leaving, but was approached to defend Nelson Mandela and other ANC members in the 1963-4 Rivonia Trial.
The legal team, which included Bram Fischer (posthumous honorary LLD 2015), Vernon Berrangé, George Bizos (BA 1951, LLB 1954, honorary LLD 1999) and Arthur Chaskalson (BCom 1952, LLB 1954, honorary LLD 1990), managed to avert the death penalty. Joffe called this experience “a great privilege” for him and wrote about it in The Rivonia Story. In the foreword, Nelson Mandela called the book “one of the most reliable sources for understanding what happened at that trial and how we came to live and see democracy triumph in South Africa.” Later, Mandela used to tease Joffe about being “the man who sent me to jail”.
Joffe went on to defend and support many others accused of political offences, and was subjected to police harassment. In 1965 the family were forced to leave South Africa – and were refused entry into Australia. His third daughter, Abigail, was born in the United Kingdom.
There, he and fellow Wits graduates Mark Weinberg (BCom 1952, LLB 1954, honorary DSc Economics 1990) and Sydney Lipworth (BCom 1952, LLB 1954, honorary LLD 2003) started Hambro Life Assurance, which became the highly successful Allied Dunbar. Joffe was Deputy Chair until 1991.
He was a founder member and trustee of a wide range of charitable organisations in the UK, including the JG and VL Joffe Charitable Trust, and International Chairman of Oxfam from 1995 to 2001. He campaigned for consumer rights, for socially responsible business practices and for assisted dying for the terminally ill. Oxfam recorded that he was determined to make the organisation “as efficient as it was passionate. ‘Passion and good intentions by themselves are no value to anyone without effective implementation,’ he said.”
From 2000 to 2004, he chaired the Giving Campaign, which encourages philanthropy by the wealthiest in society. The Joffe Charitable Trust gave millions every year to mainly African causes and especially to causes that were likely to find it relatively difficult to attract support, such as abortion for rape victims and raising awareness of female genital mutilation. “One does what one believes is right,” Joffe told one interviewer.
Mac Maharaj, whom Joffe defended on charges of sabotage in 1964, said he was always “careful, thoughtful, willing to put the needs of others above even those of himself and his family”. In a newspaper tribute, he said: “Every time I turned to him for support … he was there – not as an act of charity, not as a means of increasing dependency, but as an act of empowerment.”
He remained closely involved with South Africa and, through his family trust, was among the University’s most generous individual donors. He contributed funds towards commemorating Bram Fischer and spoke at the ceremony where Fischer posthumously received his honorary doctorate.
He was awarded the CBE in 1999 and became a Labour peer as Baron Joffe of Liddington in 2000. Last year he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London.
Lord Joffe was a man of great integrity and skill and has been described as wise, enthusiastic, hard-working, generous, forthright, kind and courageous – though diffident. His “weakness”, the Financial Times reported in 2011, was tennis. In the same interview, he was quoted as saying: “I’ve been fortunate, and I feel a responsibility to help other people. That’s always been my approach: I’m passionate about justice and about human rights.”
He died on 18 June 2017 at home in Liddington, Swindon, aged 85, after a short illness.
“We will remember Joel fondly for his towering intellect, big heart, and tremendous sense of fun, along with the many great contributions he made towards a fairer society for all,” said Humanists UK, an organisation of which he was patron.
John Bird (1943-2017)
John Bird (BCom 1966) began his career at Afrox before moving to Scaw Metals, where he worked for over 35 years, ending his career there as Group Resources Director. He was a lifelong supporter of Wits, South African art and Johannesburg heritage, and his family described him as a model for how to contribute to building our democracy.
Judith Frankel Lipkin (1936-2017)
Judith Eda Frankel Lipkin (BSc QS 1958), one of the first women to qualify as a quantity surveyor in South Africa, died in the UK in May 2017, aged 81.
She was born in Port Elizabeth, the only daughter of a mathematician (Eileen Frankel, née Orr) and an antiquarian bookseller (Jacob Frankel).
Her son Jonathan recalls her talking about arduous exams at Wits, requiring candidates to perform hundreds of technical calculations using nothing more than a slide rule, pencil and paper. When she graduated, quantity surveying was still a profession dominated by men and she was often asked to work on domestic buildings rather than “grand projects”. However, much of her work in South Africa required travelling to remote locations.
She was admitted to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and her status as a professional pioneer was acknowledged when she was twice invited to London for a “Woman of the Year” event in the 1960s.
She moved permanently to London in the 1960s, married the composer Malcolm Lipkin (who died a week after she did) and gradually gave up work to look after their only child. She also devoted herself to helping her husband pursue his career in music. She was an excellent cook and enjoyed entertaining family, friends and Malcolm’s colleagues. She was very interested in the arts and culture, and a close follower of current affairs.
Sources: Jonathan Lipkin; Rand Daily Mail; The Star; The Daily Telegraph
Louise Emanuel (1953-2017)
Louise Sharon Emanuel (BA 1974, PDE 1976), an internationally influential psychotherapist specialising in the treatment of children and adolescents, died in the UK of a neurological disease in May 2017, aged 63.
She was born in Johannesburg to Abraham and Valerie Berkowitz (both Wits graduates: BSc Eng 1939 and BSc 1943, respectively) and studied English and French at Wits. With her postgraduate diploma in education, she went on to teach at King Edward VII School.
She moved to London in 1981 and qualified as a child and adolescent psychotherapist, the field in which her husband Ricky Emanuel also worked. They had two sons, Alex and Adrian.
Her work focused on helping children who had suffered trauma or had behavioural problems. She was known for her acute observation of young children and the way they related to their parents, enabling her to connect with them and understand their thoughts and feelings.
Emanuel developed the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust’s model for working with children under five, and set it up in a number of countries, including South Africa. She also developed methods to test how effective the intervention was. With Elizabeth Bradley, she co-edited a book called What Can the Matter Be? (2008) and in 2004 published Understanding Your Three-Year-Old. In recent years she worked with the South African organisation Siya Phula Phula, which helps child-headed households.
The Association for Infant Mental Health UK is to award a Louise Emanuel Prize for a significant contribution to the field of infant mental health. She is remembered by the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health for the “insightful intelligence and passion” she brought to her work, and as a friend who was curious, energetic, generous and fun.
Emanuel enjoyed travelling, hiking, reading, theatre, film and art, and wrote poetry herself. In addition to her husband, sons and mother, she leaves her brothers Ivor, Frank and Dan Berkowitz – all Wits-trained doctors.
Lynne Baker (1928-2017)
Professor Lynne Wilford (“Boetie”) Baker (MBBCh 1951) was born in Potchefstroom and attended Jeppe Boys’ High School in Johannesburg. After qualifying at Wits, he returned to Potchefstroom and worked as a general practitioner. He later began his surgical training at Aberdeen University under Prof Hugh Dudley and Prof George Mavor, one of the pioneers in the management of venous disease and arterial surgery, which became major interests of Lynne’s. He completed his Royal College Fellowship in Edinburgh in 1958 and Royal College of Surgeons Fellowship in England in 1961 and proceeded to McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he completed a Master of Science degree. In 1967, he returned with his young family to South Africa, where he was appointed Head of Department and Professor of Surgery at the University of Natal. He was in charge of surgical services based at the King Edward VIII hospital.
Lynne’s aim was to improve conditions at the hospital and to develop a first-rate Department of Surgery. He was an immensely hard worker himself and set about recruiting individuals who would help him in his mission to expand and develop academic surgery in (then) Natal. His major strength, when recruiting staff, was to allow them to develop in their own right – an approach which engendered enormous loyalty. He also involved other departments and the private sector in teaching. One of the highlights of his international career was delivering the Semmelweiss Lecture on “Lessons from lavage and colonic trauma” at the Surgical Infection Society of Europe congress in Vienna in 1994. His many academic achievements culminated in his election as a Fellow of the University of Natal.
He held senior leadership roles in the College of Medicine of South Africa and in various societies including the Surgical Research Society, Trauma Society and Association of Surgeons of South Africa. He introduced the Advanced Trauma Life Support concept into South Africa and poured his energy into making it an integral part of student training.
In the operating theatre environment in a “show and tell” situation, he was a superb technical surgeon. His mantra was: “if it is not right it is wrong, so do it again”.
He had an informal and relaxed management style but was a stickler for discipline and in particular dress standards. Students were expected to dress properly and this, for some reason, revolved around wearing a necktie. He had an open door policy until 8am in the morning, and often said he built his department around his coffee percolator. A man with warmth, energy and zest for life, he enjoyed a party and was an inveterate traveller.
He leaves his wife of 60 years, Barbara, two children, Diane and Andrew, and three grandchildren.
Source: Prof John V Robbs, in South African Journal of Surgery
Mervyn Shear (1931 – 2017)
Emeritus Professor Mervyn Shear, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs (1983 – 1990) and founder of the Department of Oral Pathology at Wits, died on 24 January 2017 at his retirement home in Cape Town.
He was born in Johannesburg, the son of Sam and Minnie (Labe) Shear. He qualified at Wits (BDS 1954, HDip Dentistry 1959, MDent 1965, DSc Dent 1973) and was awarded an honorary LLD in 1992. He established the first biopsy service in oral pathology at Wits in 1958 and headed the department for 17 years, from 1969.
He pioneered work on cysts of the oral and maxillofacial regions, resulting in many published articles and a book on the subject.
“He was a great and kind teacher and always had the students’ interests at heart,” says Prof Jos Hille, who worked with Prof Shear at the University of the Western Cape, where he gave his time freely in semi-retirement. Described as a “legend” in his field, he was also “a great colleague and wonderful friend”.
He was an Honorary Life Member of the South African Dental Association; a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, the Royal College of Pathologists and the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa; co-founder and past President of the International Association of Oral Pathologists; and an Honorary Member of the British Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists and the Scandinavian Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists.
He also wrote a book about a difficult period of history, Wits: A University in the Apartheid Era (WUP 1996).
As Deputy Vice-Chancellor in the late 1980s, he provided leadership at a time of political protests and harassment, a state of emergency and clashes between anti-apartheid activist students and police. Apparently there were 52 student demonstrations while he was in this office. It was, as he said in his book, “a steep learning curve” for him – and he even took a police rubber bullet in the back. All this in addition to other responsibilities for student life.
“A great pathologist and writer, he was a great liberal and forward thinker – and sometimes a little mischievous. He was a thorn in the side of the SA government. During one period of unrest, police helicopters were buzzing the campus; Mervyn had the students place chairs on the lawn, in an arrangement that from above read F---- O--!” recalls Prof Crispian Scully.
“We always were in no doubt that Prof Shear would be on our side when we were being attacked, arrested or detained by apartheid police,” says former Black Students Society president Tiego Moseneke.
Former SRC president Linda Vilakazi-Tselane says: “Prof Shear deserves the respect and recognition that matches the support and sacrifices he made for the marginalised students. A true champion of humanity, justice and courage for equal access.”
Mervyn Shear’s wife, Caryll Shear (Posel; MBBCh 1954, BA Hons 1972, MA 1975), who taught Fine Arts at Wits in the 1980s, died in 2013. The Shears were art collectors and donors to the Wits Art Museum. Their son, Dr Keith Shear, lectures in African Studies at Birmingham University in the UK.
Mitchell Shackleton (1920-2017)
Professor Mitchell Shackleton (PhD 1975) died in July 2017 after a short illness. Born in the UK, he obtained his first degree at Oxford and was a senior lecturer in French at Wits from 1954 to 1961. He went on to the University of Cape Town, where he became Dean of the Faculty of Arts. He led the Association for French Studies in Southern Africa in the 1970s, and in 1975 received the Ordre des Palmes Académiques for his contribution to bringing English- and French-speaking peoples together on the African continent. His Wits PhD was on the artistic theory and practice of André Gide. Professor Shackleton leaves his wife, Ninon.
Sources: Dr John McCutcheon; UCT
Nico Nel (1926-2017)
Dr Nicholas Everhardus Nel (MBBCh 1951) was born in Brakpan and died in Bloemfontein, aged 91. He had been a GP and grape farmer in Douglas, in the Northern Cape, and ran a clinic at Schmidtsdrif. He leaves his wife Elsie and children.
Source: Volksblad 8 November 2017
Oliver Kerfoot (1923-2017) and Noreen Kerfoot (1924-2018)
Oliver Kerfoot, who died aged 93 on New Year’s Day 2017, graduated from Wits with a BSc in Botany and Geology in 1951. After doing an MA at Oxford he worked in forestry research for many years in Zambia, Kenya and South Africa before joining the Wits Department of Botany in 1968 as a senior lecturer, where he remained until his retirement in 1988. His special contribution was in the field of Ecology.
At Wits he met Noreen McHardy (BA 1946), who was then working in the library. They were married in 1950. She qualified as a teacher at Oxford, then worked as a librarian, teacher and lecturer in Kenya and at Stellenbosch, where she later graduated with an MA, as well as lecturing in the English Department and working in the library at Wits after their return to Johannesburg. Noreen Kerfoot died on 8 January 2018 after nobly and cheerfully enduring many years of illness.
They leave their son William Kerfoot (BA 1975, BA Hons 1976, LLB 1978).
Source: William Kerfoot
Pauline Cuzen (1929-2017)
Former Deputy Registrar for Student Affairs Pauline Cuzen (BA 1950) passed away peacefully on 15 May, aged 88.
Pauline Anne Thompson was born in Bournemouth, England. During World War II, she and her brother were evacuated to America and fostered by a family in Ohio. After the war, the family came to South Africa and settled in Johannesburg. Pauline married Alan Cuzen and they lived in Botswana for some time, before returning to Johannesburg in 1963 with their five children: Dennis, John, Philip, Ann and Mary.
She was a hard worker and lifelong learner, at ease among people regardless of their age or hers. Activities and interests included the Orchid Society, bridge, Continuity Club, University of the Third Age, Shakespeare, and the Johannesburg Hospital Chaplaincy Team. She loved hiking, and travelled the world to see sights like Mayan temples and the gorillas of Rwanda.
She was socially conscious and a strong, independent woman who embraced every opportunity to enrich her inner self and those around her.
Pauline was a loyal and supportive Witsie even after she retired in 1992. She attended many alumni events, including last year’s Founders’ Tea. She and her family donated 13 olive trees – one for each grandchild – which are growing next to the FNB Building on West Campus. Those grandchildren described her lovingly as “a force to be reckoned with”.
Peter Fridjhon (1951-2017)
Professor Peter Fridjhon (BSc 1974, HDipEd 1974), former Head of the School of Statistics and Actuarial Science (2011-2016), was associated with Wits for over four decades.
He matriculated from King Edward VII School in 1968 and, after obtaining his Wits degree and teaching diploma, taught mathematics at Malvern High School for five years before pursuing a Master’s degree at Lancaster University. On his return, he joined the staff of the Department of Applied Mathematics in 1980, before moving to the Department of Statistics in 1982.
Well-known to students in both the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Fridjhon always made himself available for consultation on statistics to staff, postgraduate students and industry. During his time at Wits, he served on many School, Faculty and University committees. His contribution to research in the social sciences is also recognised as he served on teams that made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the design and implementation of research projects.
The Psychological Society of South Africa acknowledged his contribution to its professional journal and to researchers, adding: “His sharp wit and willingness to assist will be remembered always.”
Philip Bonner (1945-2017)
Philip Lewis Bonner, emeritus professor in history, died suddenly on Sunday 24 September 2017, aged 72.
Born in England, raised in Kenya, educated at Nottingham and London universities, Philip was appointed lecturer in History by Professor Noel Garson in 1971 By 1991, twenty years later, he had been made a full professor as Professor of Urban and Labour History, and then promoted to Professor on the Special List in 1995. From 1999 to 2003 he served as Head of Department; from 1987 to 2012 he was also chairperson of the inter-disciplinary History Workshop. In 2007 he was awarded an NRF chair in Local Histories, Present Realities, finally retiring in 2012 after 41 years of service.
A man of considerable energy and enthusiasm, and armed with a sharp, insightful, original mind, Philip made a huge impact on the Department, the Faculty of Arts (now the Faculty of Humanities), and the wider University over those years. He was a pioneer in many respects, In his PhD research on 19th century Swaziland for the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, he pioneered in collecting and using Swazi oral traditions. His thesis was published in 1983 as Kings, Commoners and Concessionaires
His mandate on appointment to Wits was to pioneer the professional teaching of African history in South Africa, and he succeeded not only in launching African history at Wits but together with Peter Delius in later years maintained Wits as the leading centre in the country for African history. Students found his lectures exciting, particularly in their attempts to relate the past to the present.
Philip was a an innovator in the Department and Faculty in another direction - as a product of SOAS he was a Marxist, at a juncture when the Faculty as a whole was judged by critics to be conservative in outlook, while the Department seemed to be set in a traditional and conventional mould.. However, the university was in a major growth stage, and Philip was soon joined by new like-minded young colleagues, including David Webster in Social Anthropology,.
What struck Philip about the Wits Faculty, by comparison with British universities, was the lack of dialogue between disciplines, and the promotion of interdisciplinary exchanges was certainly a major pioneering enterprise of his. His great achievement was to set up, in 1974, the African Studies Seminar of the recently formed African Studies Institute as a thriving inter-disciplinary venue,,. In 1977 Philip joined Belinda Bozzoli in Sociology in forming the interdisciplinary History Workshop, with its triennial conferences, which launched the new social history, or ‘history from below’, in South Africa and which proceeded to inspire Philip’s post-graduate supervisions. From early on Philip attracted postgraduates, and they are among his major legacies.
Philip was never a purely university figure. He extended his activities well eyond the university, engaging in worker education and the movement to create a new generation of black trade unions. Evidently out of a concern at his trade union involvement the state made an attempt to deport Phillip, along with his trade unionist wife, Chris, in December 1986. On 9 December he was served with a deportation order, arrested and imprisoned in John Vorster Square. Formidable protest was mounted, at home and abroad, and Philip was released pending an interview with the Minister of Home Affairs, Stoffel Botha, in Cape Town in January as to why he should not be deported. After the interview the order was rescinded.
Concurrent with Philip’s trade union activism was a shift to labour and social history as his primary research field, leading to the launch in 1983 of an ambitious research programme on the history of the working class on the Witwatersrand, beginning with the East Rand. During the 1980s and 1990s Philip published a string of articles in major international journals and edited books on the labour and social history of the Witwatersrand, establishing his reputation as the leading historian of the labour movement in South Africa, Increasingly he became involved in the activities of the History Workshop, and in 1987 became its chairperson, As chairperson he engaged in a major venture of popularisation by serving as historical consultant and executive producer to Channel 4 in Britain for a six part documentary television series on the history of Soweto. A book, Soweto: A History, written by Bonner and Lauren Segal, resulted from the venture in 1998. Two books on township histories followed, Kathorus: A History (2000) and Alexandra: A History (2008), both written with Noor Nieftagodien..
When Philip took over as Head of the Department of History jn 1998 jt was a critical juncture. After two decades of sustained growth, enrolments in History fell off dramatically. It was a national phenomenon as students in the New South Africa turned their backs on the South African past. . To counter the fall in student numbers, and to underline its usefulness to the University, Bonner’s department took to offering service courses to other departments, including a hugely popular course on customary law in South Africa in the School of Law,
The demise of apartheid posed a similar challenge to the identity and purpose of the History Workshop. It had previously always been an oppositional group in its historiography, aligning itself with the oppressed, disenfranchised masses. The 1999 conference, ‘Commissioning the Past’, attended by a number of NGOs, helped provide a new sense of direction> Smaller, more frequent conferences would turn a historical lens on pressing contemporary issues, such as land reform and the HIV/Aids scourge. In the wake of the Soweto project, priority was also given to local history projects, with a team of researchers from different disciplines working with Philip and Noor Nieftegodien. The Workshop also entered the field of public history With Philip playing a major role in putting together the Apartheid Museum, first conceptualised by him. The award to Philip in 2007 of a NRF chair in ‘Local Histories and Present Realities’ provided five years of funding for the Workshop’s research activities.
After his retirement Philip continued with his research and writing, and was working on a biography of Matthews Phosa at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Sally Gaule.
Potoki Isaac Nkwe (1950-2017)
Potoki Isaac Nkwe (BEd 1982, MEd 1984) was born in Krugersdorp, the son of Regina Sepotokele and Alfred Lebajoa. From the age of five, he lived with his grandparents, Bishop Daniel Nkwe and Norah Nkwe, on a farm in Potchefstroom, where he spent many happy years with his siblings and cousins. He had warm memories about travelling with his grandfather, the Bishop, on a bike to areas around Fochville, visiting churches within the African Anglican Church.
When he was about nine, they relocated to Sharpeville. When he completed his junior certificate in 1967, his uncle, Bishop David Nkwe, and aunt, Maggie Nkwe, saw his potential and decided that he should move to Orlando High School to be taught by the well-known maths teacher and principal Dr Thamsanqa Wilkinson “Wilkie” Kambule. Even though that opportunity eluded him, he still got very good results when he matriculated in 1969.
During his time at the University of the North (now called the University of Limpopo), in the early 1970s, Potoki completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Philosophy and Psychology. He was also Chairman of the University Choral Society and President of the Students’ Representative Council.
Potoki became a teacher at Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto and was a member of the Johannesburg Teachers’ Choir and the St Paul’s Anglican Church Choir. He was arrested together with other students and teachers during the 1976 Soweto Uprising – but two weeks later he married Doris Tsakane Ntsanwisi.
He also taught at Hudson Ntsanwisi Secondary School in Nkowankowa, and became Deputy Principal and Headmaster. During his time in Giyani, he worked as a Senior School Psychologist and later as Chief Education Advisor for the Department of Education for the Gazankulu Authority.
Potoki went on to attain his Bachelor of Education and Master of Education degrees while lecturing and supervising research students at Wits University. He did his internship at the East Rand Hospital and qualified as a clinical psychologist before starting his private practice in clinical psychology and education services at Ipelegeng Community Centre. He focused on psychotherapy for young adolescents but ran many other projects at Ipelegeng. It was through this work that the WK Kellogg Foundation invited him to be their South African representative and programme director.
He later worked for several organisations including the Mpumalanga Development Corporation, Alexandra Renewal Project and Junior Achievement (an academy for training entrepreneurs).
Potoki remained a member of various church choirs, including St Michael’s Anglican Church and St Paul’s Anglican Church.
He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August 2017 and passed away in October. He is survived by his wife Tsakane and daughters Matshego, Dineo and Gontse and their families.
Source: Rev. Martha Gordon
Russell Joffe (1954-2017)
Professor Russell Trevor Joffe (MBBCh 1977) was the former Dean and Vice-President of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University in Ontario, former Dean of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at Staten Island University Hospital in New York. His field was the biology of mood disorders and he published several books on the subject. He was highly regarded as a researcher, clinician and academic leader, and is remembered for his intelligence, compassion, wisdom and sense of humour. He helped establish the McMaster Mood Disorders Program, which won the 1998 American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric Services Achievement Gold Award. His wife Jennifer and children Ben, Claire, Robyn and Sharyn survive him.
Source: McMaster University
Sibulele Mgudlwa (1991-2017)
Sibulele Mgudlwa (BCom 2016) was born in Bhisho in the Eastern Cape and matriculated from Dale College in King William’s Town with six distinctions and half-colours for debating and academics.
At Wits, he joined the South African Students Congress Organisation, the Young Communist League and the ANC Youth League. He was elected chairperson of the Accounting School Council and appointed as chairperson of Wits’ Student Parliament. Sibulele was elected the SRC president (2012/13) and earned the respect of many, regardless of their affiliations, through his caring service and humble personality.
Thomas Brummer (1929-2017)
Thomas Marnewecke Brummer (BDS 1951) was one of the last students to qualify from the old Wits Dental Hospital in Bok Street. His wife, Yvonne, writes: “In 1947 the Dental Faculty was full because of the young soldiers returning after the war. Thomas was advised by an uncle who was a dentist in Johannesburg to knock on the Dean’s door every day and after two weeks, there was a cancellation and he was accepted. There was no accommodation available [his home was in Barkly East], so he moved to Kempton Park and stayed with two aunts.” He met Yvonne at church and they travelled on the same train to Johannesburg and back for five years. “We were married a few months before he qualified in 1951.
“We spent seven years in Beaufort West, where Thomas was involved in a church, taking many of their services. Then we moved to Carnarvon in the Karoo. He became a travelling dentist, visiting Victoria West for two days a month, then Williston, Fraserburg and Sutherland once every three months. Thomas had a folding chair which the Red Cross used during the First World War. He had a special cabinet made for his instruments, sterilizer and other necessary equipment. He had to do everything himself. In other words, he worked very hard.”
But it wasn’t all work: Thomas started a waterski club at a farm dam near Loxton which is still going today. “Waterskiing in the Karoo was a real adventure. A friend had a small aeroplane and many a Friday afternoon they would fly around the district looking at the dams to see the water levels.”
The Brummers moved to Cape Town in 1966, and in 1972 Thomas became Director of the Middle East Christian Outreach, a mission which had been started in Syria in the 1860s. He held this position until 1990 and retired in 1996.
“His patients loved him because he was gentle and honest. He loved his Creator and always put Him first,” says Yvonne. Dr Brummer died in June 2017, two days before his 88th birthday, leaving Yvonne, three children (Diane, Tommy and Belinda) and nine grandchildren.
Thomas Hopwood (1924-2017)
Thomas Wynne Hopwood (BSc Eng 1950) followed in his father’s footsteps as a civil engineer. Tom Hopwood Snr served in World War I, repairing bridges and canals destroyed by the Germans in Europe, and recorded much of this in photographs. He went on to a career in water engineering. Tom Hopwood Jnr was in the first class to enrol at Wits after World War II, during which he had served in the SA Signals Corps, flying transport planes between North and South Africa. He was also an amateur photographer.
“He treasured his time at Wits,” wrote his wife Jill, “and always spoke feelingly about those days, having especially fond memories of some of his professors – Prof Gewers being one I can recall. Tom spent his engineering days as a municipal engineer, in Pretoria until 1971 and thereafter in Port Elizabeth. Would that there could be more of his ilk today – going steadily to work patiently and diligently at a not very glamorous job, but certainly keeping the wheels turning in the cities.”
Tiisetso Moja (1969-2017)
Tiisetso Moshate Nathan Moja (MSc Eng 1997, MBA 2009) died in a car accident on 12 April 2017. Born in Pretoria and educated first in Atteridgeville and Ga-Rankuwa and at Waterkloof House, he shone academically – as did his twin brother Tshepo. Tiisetso attended St Alban’s College and UCT before furthering his engineering and business studies at Wits. He excelled in his career in telecommunications and information technology, and was Group General Manager at MTN at the time of his death. A number of engineering graduates benefited from his professional mentorship. He was married to Hilda (Kithinji) for 23 years and they had two sons, Moagi and Neo.
Victor Raynal (1925-2017)
Victor Anton Raynal (BSc Eng 1950), born in Mozambique, was the third generation of a family that had been involved in the electricity supply industry in Southern Africa since 1898. His grandfather and father worked for the Électricité De France Company in Mauritius and then Mozambique. When Victor was eight years old, his father died of malaria and he was sent to boarding school at Marist Brothers in Johannesburg. He completed secondary school at the age of 16 and started a five-year apprenticeship with the Johannesburg City Council (JCC).
Realising that he had potential, the JCC awarded him a scholarship which enabled him to study Electrical Engineering at Wits. He then had a professional training attachment with Ferranti in Oldham, England, which was at that time one of the largest electrical engineering distribution equipment manufacturers in the world. Ferranti was developing the world’s first commercially available computer and he considered whether he should develop his career along that path. However, he was very committed to using his engineering skills to develop the infrastructure in Africa. When he completed this professional attachment he turned down lucrative job offers in the UK and other Commonwealth countries to resume working for the JCC in 1955.
In 1970 he was appointed as Assistant City Electrical Engineer (Distribution). This responsibility involved providing reticulation for a densely populated area of about 500 square kilometres, which included Soweto. He developed ultra-high street lighting to provide illumination for large areas economically.
Victor achieved many academic and professional qualifications. He became a member of the Council of the South African and UK Royal Institutes of Electrical Engineers and a Fellow of both Institutes. In 1994 he received a 50 years’ membership award from the SAIEE.
After taking early retirement from the JCC at the age of 55, he worked for Croswell Engineers until he went into semi-retirement in 1989, but continued working on part-time projects until recently. Victor was a keen competitive sportsman and chess player. He leaves his wife Margaret, a daughter and a son. Two sons predeceased him.
Vivian Davids (1945-2017)
Vivian Christopher Davids (BA Hons 1983) was born in Fordsburg in Johannesburg, the eldest of five children. He completed his BA in Education at the Rand College of Education in 1966 and spent eight years teaching at the Chris John Botha High School in Bosmont, Johannesburg. He went on to become a lecturer at the Rand College of Education, where he spent 27 years, eventually leaving when the college closed. During his tenure there he taught hundreds of students and solidified his reputation as an educator. He ended his career at the Gauteng Department of Education in 2010.
Throughout his career Vivian endeavoured to further his own education. He did his Honours in English Linguistics at Wits and his Master’s at Reading University in England.
He also ensured that all his children received the best education available and opportunities that he never had.
Vivian passed away in September 2017 after a battle with prostate cancer. He leaves his wife, five children and 11 grandchildren.
Source: Joshua Davids
Wilson Maumela (1964-2017)
Avhahumi Wilson Maumela (BA Ed 1989, BEd 1991) was born in Venda, grew up in Soweto and died in Diepkloof after a short illness. After qualifying as a teacher, he began his career at Meadowlands High School and later became principal of Orlando High School and of Job Rathebe High School. He is survived by his wife Zanele and their five children.
Source: Sowetan 6 October 2017
Delyse de Kock (1937-2017)
Delyse de Kock (BA FA 1971) grew up in Springs. She had a difficult home life and left school and home before matriculating. After working as a secretary for years, she decided to pursue her dream of a career in art. First she completed her matric at Damelin, where she was tutored by Cecil Skotnes. She then studied at Wits from 1967 to 1970. Her teachers included Erica Berry, Cecily Sash, Robert Hodgins and Judith Mason. As a student she displayed a notable maturity and talent, and much was expected of her. She completed her teacher’s diploma and later became a senior lecturer at the Teachers Training College. She was well loved by her pupils for her innovation, passion for art, deep interest in the human condition – and her eccentricity! Much of her drawing and painting reflects her interest in sculpture, for which she lacked a suitable working space. She was also interested in Greek mythology. For her, art was a private endeavour and she preferred not to show or talk about her work. In her lifetime she exhibited only once, in 1979 at the Trevor Coleman Gallery in Norwood. (Her friends held an exhibition in her memory in June 2018.) Yet she was a joyous individual with a great passion for life – a remarkable friend who left an indelible mark on those around her.
Source: Willem Vogel
Stephen Hulbert (1949-2017)
Stephen Arthur Hulbert (BA 1973) was born and grew up in Germiston, an only child. At Wits, he switched from a BCom to a BA and was active in NUSAS and student politics. After graduation he became a financial journalist at the Financial Mail and later went into public relations and scriptwriting. Leaving Barry Goldman Studio, he and his wife, Vanda, went to Kosi Bay, where he was involved in community development, initially with a craft project. Working with the University of Zululand he helped create a farmer’s co-operative and a cattle development project owned and run by the community. Liaising with international funders, other NGOs and the KwaZulu conservation body was also part of his work. His community development expertise and understanding of conservation and land issues were essential contributions to the Shongweni Dam Conservancy, which was created with the involvement of the surrounding communities and the unions at a politically fraught period in KwaZulu Natal (1992-1995). The family (by then with two adopted daughters) moved to Cape Town next, where Stephen became Director of the Surplus People’s Project, an NGO concerned with land reclamation and redistribution. On completion of his contract he joined the Table Mountain National Park, and then SANParks, in their marketing divisions. At SANParks he created the Wild Card and the first edition of the Wild magazine. He retired as Director of AFRA, a land rights NGO based in Pietermaritzburg, in 2014. Stephen had a deep passion for social justice and democracy. He had a keen, analytical intellect and authored several seminal papers on land and development. He passed away in June last year after a long battle with illness.
Source: Vanda van Speyk
Henk Lantermans (1938-2017)
Henk Lantermans (BSc Eng 1965) was born in Holland and came to South Africa with his family in 1953. From an early age he wanted to be an engineer. He enjoyed his time at Wits and had many memories of professors and student activities. Though his university education was important for his professional career, it was the friends he made during those years that mattered to him. They remained his life-long comrades and he always looked forward to reunions. He was a member of the Engineering Council of South Africa, the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Lighting Engineers of South Africa. He began his career at the South African Railways and went on to work as a senior electrical engineer at a number of engineering firms, as well as doing some consulting work. Projects he was involved in included 29 July 2017, leaving his son Shaun (BCom 2001, BCom Hons 2002) and Shaun’s family. His wife, Bernice, died in 2014. His sister, Dr Elizabeth Lantermans (MBBCh 1965), is also a Wits graduate. Source: Shaun Lantermans Henk Lantermans Carnival City casino, the Apartheid Museum, a uranium enrichment plant, mines, stadiums, highway lights and water schemes. He travelled widely as a young man and worked until the age of 75. He passed away suddenly on 29 July 2017, leaving his son Shaun (BCom 2001, BCom Hons 2002) and Shaun’s family. His wife, Bernice, died in 2014. His sister, Dr Elizabeth Lantermans (MBBCh 1965), is also a Wits graduate.
Source: Shaun Lantermans
Clive Hicks (1932-2017)
On the memorial for T.S. Elliot in East Coker Church is the inscription “in my beginning is my end ... in my end is my beginning”, taken from his Four Quartets, one of Clive’s favourite poems.
Endings are important; as important as beginnings.
So I will begin with Clive’s ending.
We knew, when he came out of hospital in August that we were on borrowed time. So we can be thankful for the opportunity to arrange several special memorable days with his family, children and grandchildren during that month. We can be thankful that we had warning on his last day and time enough to call my siblings, so we all spoke with him. We can be thankful that David and I were with Dad and Mum, able to hold both of them in an embrace of love as he passed on. Clive was not afraid of death. “If this is it; that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.” He had a firm and unwavering faith in the underlying goodness of the universe, and the essence of God as love. It was quick and without suffering; as good an ending as anyone might wish for, for which we all can be thankful.
But as Dad often said about his birthday: “It’s just another bloody day!”
What matters is not the beginning or the end but the life.
Clive had a very full life. He was born on 14th September 1932 in South Africa, eldest son of Vivian and Jeanette Hicks. His father was an amateur radio enthusiast who made contact with Oswald Gayford during his epic record-breaking flight to South Africa in February 1933, and so named his son Clive Gayford Hicks.
South African education allowed pupils to skip a year or drop a year depending on ability. After a move to Port Elizabeth and enrolment at Grey School, Clive found himself, much to his surprise, at the top of his class even after moving up a year. He told me that his strategy was always to be reading one chapter ahead of where the lessons were, so he effectively taught himself, and that he made himself indispensible to the class bullies, who were two years older than him, by freely sharing his homework to secure their protection.
Vivian was an engineer, designing railway bridges, so it was natural for Clive to follow into architecture at Wits University in Johannesburg, aged 17. While he was at university he attended a ballet performance with a group of friends, and it changed his life. Shortly afterwards he found a ballet class for adults. Clive’s sister, Jennifer, recalls him practicing along the main passage in their home at St Andrews Road. He would start the run-up in his bedroom, sprint along the passage and do a flying leap past her door. A few years later Clive was in London dancing professionally with the Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company and later Royal Opera Ballet, Covent Garden. His greatest triumph, he told me, was the chance to dance a Pas-de-deux with Margot Fonteyn, for whom he had hosted a reception at his home in South Africa in 1956.
Careers in ballet are brief, so after three years he returned to architecture in 1959, joining the firm of Stewart, Hendry and Smith, in which he remained until after it merged with Lawrence and Wrightson. Clive specialised in designing buildings for the emerging hospice movement, providing suitable settings for people with terminal illnesses to die with dignity and family around them, under the inspirational leadership of Dame Cicely Saunders. Many of the UK’s most celebrated hospices were designed or enlarged by Clive and his colleagues, including St Christopher’s, the world’s first purpose-built hospice, opened in 1967.
I remember Dad showing me the designs of one of his hospices, pointing out how the patient rooms were octagonal, partly to maximise window views into the flower filled courtyards, partly to allow quick but discrete access for medical intervention and partly because the symbolic meaning of the number eight is ‘new birth’, which is why fonts are almost always octagonal. Dad was very conscious of how subconscious associations affect us and can be used in architecture to affect people’s spirits.
In 1960, Clive moved into a rented flat at 49 West Cromwell Road, London. Barons Court was a South African enclave even then, for those that didn’t like the way that country was going, so when he helped carry up the bags of a young lady from Port Elizabeth moving into one of the other flats that soon led to them going out together, though his taste in Swedish cinema is something she still shudders at. They went on holidays together, youth-hostelling in Scotland and Europe riding pillion on his battered Vespa scooter, which broke down somewhere in Italy leaving them stranded until a truck gave them a lift. The garage people laughed when they saw it, but managed to fix it. This is the sort of thing that can make or break a relationship. Mum and Dad got married in South Africa in 1962 and I arrived three years later, followed by Jono, David and Susan.
Dad was an amazing father. Despite being out almost every night of the week either teaching at adult education classes, judging photographic competitions or leading discussion groups at Colet House, he still made time to read to each of us regularly. I can still remember him reading the Doctor Doolittle books to me, and listening as he read to the others in turn. Growing up in the Hicks household was a magical world of made-up words: cvarmporter, hooverum, sooby basan, ticky leamings – mostly made by us and adopted by him - and spontaneous science experiments, like his little jar of liquid mercury. He had lots of special phrases. “Water is for washing in, not drinking!” “Your mother’s run off to join a passing circus”, “that’ll put hair on your chest.” He introduced each of us, as babies, to ‘bottle coffee’ and some of us to his favourite ‘groeny’ cheese (politely known as ‘vomit cheese’, by the rest of the family, because of its delightful smell. It burns the roof of your mouth off).
One day he was feeding Susan some form of baby goop (when she was little) and clearly he thought it as vile as she did, so he took the spoon and flicked it across the kitchen to splat on the wall, continuing till the bowl was empty, the wall covered and us apoplectic with laughter. He cleaned up before Mum got back. With Dad you never quite knew what was going to happen next. If you got too close to him you had to be wary of being tickled, as his grandchildren have all learnt in turn. We were his ‘monsters’. They are his ‘imps’.
Clive had endless hobbies. As a student he collected original 78 jazz records from America. I remember his coin collecting, model building, stamp collecting, stone polishing, music and photography, not to mention DIY. He was meticulous and precise in everything he did, with a taste for scavenging and re-using stuff that only the war generation know how to do properly. He converted the loft at Brentham Way, doing all the work himself, coming up with ingenious solutions to practical problems. I did some work for them recently. “Who taught you how to do that?” he asked. “You did,” I replied.
Dad encouraged each of us to take up hobbies, especially creative ones. Whatever we were interested in he would take an interest in and support. He was the most open-minded person I ever knew. You could talk to Clive about absolutely anything. He and I regularly had long conversations, usually at midnight over toast and coffee until Mum thumped the floor to get us to shut up. Such conversations invariably ended with him giving me a book to read from his encyclopaedic library.
But Dad’s real passions were photography and architecture. We always had at least two holidays each year, camping, later with VW Combi vans, packed in as teenagers like sardines. Other people went on holiday to beaches or resorts. We toured castles, country houses, churches, cathedrals, ruined abbeys and stone circles. We might spend the better part of a day driving through miles of uncharted bog-land to wait, playing in the heather, being eaten by midges and enjoying beef stew mixed with crisps for supper, while he spent hours photographing a circle of knee-high boulders. And then just as we were about to start the long journey back to the campsite, Mum would say “Oh look, what a lovely moon,” and the cameras would all be unpacked again.
Clive’s special friendship with Bill Anderson led to an amazingly productive partnership writing illustrated books on architecture. Each book meant a wave of holidays collecting photographs: Cathedrals of Britain and Ireland, Holy Places, Rise of the Gothic, The Green Man. You see green men everywhere now as a cultural icon; the foliate head; the face of nature. They are present in practically every church and cathedral in the western world but had never really been noticed before. It was Bill and Clive that ‘discovered’ them and spread that awareness into our collective consciousness.
Being the oldest I got to be chief camera bag carrier. This meant standing for hours in the driving rain on the island of Iona, holding the umbrella to stop the camera getting wet while my boots filled to overflowing and my cagoule funnelled the rain down inside my shirt into my underwear. Happy days. I got to go with him with special passes to see the midsummer solstice sunrise at Stonehenge inside the ring. All the while Dad would be explaining what we were photographing, why it was special or how he was trying to catch the light.
We were in Chartres Cathedral on another midsummer solstice. In the south transept there is an angled grey flagstone containing a nail. Half way up the stained-glass window opposite, a clear piece of glass. On the 24th of June, the feast day of St John the Baptist, the shaft of light hits the nail precisely a few minutes before 2 p.m, an arrangement created to set the cathedral clocks, which Dad wanted to photograph. I had made friends with some young nuns who would gather every hour to sing plainchant in one of the chapels. While we were photographing they came belting past us - Nuns running - and grabbed me after them yelling “Le Baptiste! Le Baptiste!” We followed to the portal at the North Transept where there is an exquisite carving of St John the Baptist. The sun only shines on this statue briefly once a year on 24th June. It gave Dad one of his favourite photos.
Wherever we were, Dad would always tell us to stop and look; with open eyes and open hearts; to see and appreciate the wonders in full view around us. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was an incredible education into the history of these islands, the power of architecture, the power of religion and the way images and spaces can be composed to speak profound truths to the deepest levels of our psyche beyond anything we are consciously aware of. I cannot express how profoundly grateful I am for that. I feel enormously privileged to be Clive’s son.
At the end of this service the grandchildren will stand at the back with bowls of Clive’s precious polished stones. We would like everyone here to take one, or two, to keep or to leave somewhere special or give to someone special, as a tiny fragment of Dad, dispersed to the farthest corners of the four winds.
Now, as he requested, here is his favourite piece of music; Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, and some of our memories to share. The very last photo was taken just hours before he died. It is in the middle of your service sheets. You will see that he ended as he had always lived; radiant with grace and peace.
Source: Andrew Hicks