One decade of legacy building

The sudden passing of Prof. Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, on 28 June 2014, left us with initial shock and despair. We realised very quickly that despair is no place to dwell in if we take his life and works into serious consideration and reflection. He lived a life of hope, for hope, towards hope that is the future. Prof. Botman built a legacy of hope wherever he was involved, be that in faith communities, communities and society the world over, or in higher education.

On the tenth anniversary of the Russel Botman Bursary Fund, which he established on his sixtieth and last birthday in October 2013, I reflected upon our contributions towards taking his legacy forward. We have not in all instances been walking his walk and we must face many shortcomings in our efforts, but there is certainly some good that came from it. The biggest contribution we have made is taking up the baton of the Russel Botman Bursary. Simultaneously, this might also be viewed as our greatest failure. We have not raised funds to afford deserving students in financial need at Stellenbosch study opportunities—not nearly enough to feel it. Prof. Botman said this about giving: “We must give so that we can feel that we have given.” He certainly gave his life’s work and being. And he certainly felt it. Do we donate in his name so that we can feel it?

We are, however, particularly proud of all the recipients of the Bursary Fund that have benefited from those of us who did donate. They have not only proven their dedication to their academic commitments but have gone on in their professional lives to become forces to be reckoned with in our agenda for making this world a better place. His hope found fertile ground in them. In them, we find our hope for our communities and society.

Be bold, donate in the name of Russel Botman.