What a day 13 December 2018 turned out to be for the legacy of Russel Botman and the Bursary Fund in particular. Prof Simon and I arrive to attend the graduation of Sandiso Sogula on an unusually cool day during December graduation in Stellenbosch. Sandiso received a bursary in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Coetzenburg Centre is filled with graduates, parents and guardians, spouses and partners, friends and family, staff and visitors. The first thing we do after greeting those around us is to find Sandiso’s name in the programme. That done, I peruse the ceremony programme. At that same moment, Prof Simon brings to my attention that the Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa (Honorary Doctorate) will be conferred by Justice Zakeria (Zak) Yacoob. Retired Constitutional Court Judge Yacoob received this honour from Stellenbosch University “for his outstanding contribution in the field of human rights and constitutional law, for his unique, nuanced and internationally inspiring approach to adjudicating socio-economic rights, and for being a respected champion for social justice and the welfare and rights of persons with disabilities”.
It so happened that Sandiso delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of the recipients of the Bursary Fund during the Russel Botman Memorial Lecture 2017. This is also the occasion where Justice Yacoob delivered the lecture, Religious philosophy, practice and the Constitution. Justice Yacoob concluded his lecture reminding the audience that Russel Botman pleaded with lawyers “to use the law as an instrument of hope: to ensure that the constitutional vision is achieved”. In Sandiso, who had the degree Bachelor of Laws (LLB) conferred, we now have active embodiment of this hope.
Sandiso kept the promise he made when he first received the bursary. “I promise the Russel Botman Bursary Fund that I will put in even more hard work, and no disappointment will come from me, as the only thing I can truly illustrate my appreciation by (sic) is through achieving even more academic success at this prestigious institution.” He was accompanied by his mother, Ms. Nowelile Sogula.
And if this was not enough, Soné Reens, recipient in 2016 and 2017 graduated with Bachelor of Science Honours (Plant Pathology) Cum Laude. When initially receiving the bursary, Soné undertook that she will treat the legacy of Prof Botman with the utmost respect and strive to take it forward.
Congratulations, Sandiso and Soné. You are doing the Russel Botman legacy proud!