Focused on the future
Being the theologian that Russel Botman was, it is not surprising that he was overtly future orientated and, in giving expression to this future, he personified hope in all his actions. In the book Russel Botman: A Tribute, both the late Dr Johan Botha and Prof Dirkie Smit attested to this.
As men that knew and worked closely with Botman, they also showed a great focus on hope and its effects. Botha divided his ministry in the church into five categories, one of them being “Preacher of the Gospel of Hope” and according to Smit, one of the “ten overlapping phases” of Botman’s theology is “Despair, Hope, Agency”. It is therefore not strange that, during his term of office as rector and vice chancellor, Russel Botman distinguished his leadership and management of Stellenbosch University with the Hope Project. He was inspired by the Brazilian education philosopher, Paulo Freire, when he framed his contribution to higher education with his inaugural speech in April 2007, entitled “A multicultural university with a pedagogy of hope for Africa”.
Youth are the hope for our future
Hope is a concept rooted in the future, but it is seen in the present to be lived in the time ahead. Botman was acutely aware of the importance of placing the youth at the center of that hope, that future. That is why he founded the Russel Botman Bursary Fund: to work towards granting youth with little or no prospects of higher education, the opportunity to reach their potential.
Working today for a hopeful tomorrow
In keeping with this idea, Roxanne Botman, the youngest daughter of the founder, represents the youth on the RBBF committee and serves it well with her insights and efforts. She is now on her way to follow a course towards a master’s in business administration (MBA) at the University of East London in the UK. She will, however, continue to serve on the committee in ways that only the innovative youth can including managing social media post content with Enovation, our digital marketing partner. Go well, Roxanne.