Death of Professor Jakes Gerwel
DEATH OF PROFESSOR JAKES GERWEL
It is with the greatest sorrow that I have learned of the untimely death of Professor Jakes Gerwel.
Prof Gerwel was a steadfast and principled opponent of apartheid and a leading champion of our non-racial constitutional democracy. He made a constructive contribution to higher education, first as Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape and subsequently as Chancellor of Rhodes University.
He was a close and trusted advisor to Nelson Mandela during and after the constitutional negotiations between 1990 and 1994. However, his greatest role was probably as Director-General in the Office of President during Nelson Mandela’s presidency. In this capacity he played an important role in managing the transition to non-racial constitutional democracy.
Subsequently Prof Gerwel served with distinction in a number of leadership posts - including Chairman of Media24, IDASA and the Human Sciences Research Council.
Prof Gerwel was also a friend of Afrikaans and took a special interest in its continuing use as an academic language.
Notwithstanding our different political origins, we became good friends. I - and all those who knew Jakes Gerwel - will miss him and will continue to value the enormous contribution that he has made to our new society.
FW DE KLERK
Cape Town, 28 November 2012
Published in: FW de Klerk Foundation