Success for 2024

We start 2024 still mindful of how we ended the previous year. We ended with the celebration of the successes of our 2023 Russel Botman Bursary Fund recipients. Again, we would like to congratulate all of them, but most especially those who graduated during the December 2023 ceremonies. We are proud of the way that they embody the legacy of Prof Botman. This legacy of his, I emphasised in the last Russel Botman Memorial Lecture. I reflected on his contributions (as in the quotations below) and what he left for us and the challenges we have to take up, and noted: “…regardless of the extent of the legacy Russel Botman created by his life and works, what he leaves is not automatically transferred or taken up – it must be embodied in deliberate acts. That goes for legacy per se.”

“Everywhere he lived, in all the communities which he formed part of, he made an impact.” Let us honour his life’s work by actively taking his legacy forward. One way in which to do this is to contribute financially – commit to building this Bursary fund to make an even bigger impact.

“His experience at SU made him aware of the serious gap that existed between those who received bursaries and those who did not. He felt the need to establish a bursary fund to generate funds for this purpose. He knew that there was some value in his name, given his influence in the world. He knew that there were very few bursary funds that had been established by people of colour. He forfeited receiving gifts that his guests would have given him on his sixtieth birthday, asking them for the first donations to this Russel Botman Bursary Fund instead.” We cannot accept that his legacy will continue automatically. We have to make deliberate attempts to continue his valuable contributions. Please donate, and donate generously to grant students who might otherwise not have access, bursary opportunities at Stellenbosch University.

As we wish our students well and every success for 2024, let us all be challenged by the Russel Botman legacy, a legacy on a continuum of hope. Let us do it in all earnestness and sincerity, taking it seriously, in the spirit of patient impatience. In his name, the name, Russel Botman.