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8 October 2021
In Tribute to Professor George Hector Fredericks

Dear Campus Community,

It is with great sadness that we announce the recent passing of Professor George Fredericks. We offer our condolencces to his familiy and loved ones.


I met Professor George Fredericks at the University of the Western Cape in the mid-1970s. He worked in the library then, and I was a student.  In 1982 we became colleagues there when I joined the Department of Library and Information Science. We shared our frustrations about part-time doctoral studies, and discovered that we had both matriculated at South Peninsula High School, in Diep River. It was a visit to his home in Paarl, and witnessing him coach and mentor young rugby players, that deepened my respect for Professor Fredericks as a community activist and leader. In the first weekend of July every year he made the nearly-700 km roundtrip to Merweville to feed over 200 young learners and 60 senior citizens.  The George Fredericks Primary School in Merweville, named for his father, was a source of pride. He wrote regularly to businesses in the region requesting them to create jobs, to support a kindergarten, and to buy shoes for young learners living in the town. For several years, Professor Fredericks was a respected external examiner for selected Honours and Masters degree modules offered in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria. His service to academia and developing communities will be missed. - Prof Archie Dick, UP

George Fredericks was a kind, wise and humble man. I spent some time with him as outgoing Dean of the Faculty of Arts, when I arrived in December 2008 to take over from him. He spent many hours explaining the workings of the faculty to me, with kindness, patience and understanding. He offered sage advice on handling conflict within the faculty, and also keyed me in to areas for development and growth. He obviously cared dearly for the people in the Faculty. I was particularly struck by the warm relationship he had with all of the administrative and support staff in the in the Dean’s and Faculty Offices, and the esteem in which they held him. I realised at the time that I had very large shoes to fill. George had immense pride in the Faculty of Arts, and would pop in regularly in the years to come to chat with me about how things were going. His pleasure at any successes we achieved was palpable. He continued to supervise students in retirement, and retained an active engagement with UWC on many levels, not least of which was his passionate support for our Varsity Cup rugby team.  His passing is a great loss to all, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this painful time. - Prof Duncan Brown, former Dean, Arts & Humanities Faculty

George Fredericks was both my Master’s supervisor and later a colleague in the Department of Library & Information Science at UWC. George was the epitome of a gentleman, always a polite listener and offering sage advice. Wherever and whenever I attended conferences, ex-students would reminisce about their time in the department and speak warmly about George. George was a real mensch! - Prof Sandy Zinn

Two attributes stand out as I think of George Fredericks and his leadership in our department: his deep belief in the social and educational value of libraries and his strong loyalty to the values of UWC.  Both of these have had an impact on my life as a teacher and researcher.  He was a popular teacher – as evidenced in the full auditorium at the one-day colloquium we organised in his honour when he left the department.  His students came from all over South Africa and the warmth of feeling towards him was palpable.  He took great pleasure in his students' achievements and I myself benefitted from his quiet support of and interest in my endeavours. - Prof Genevieve Hart

When I think of George Fredericks, I’m reminded of one of the famous quotations from the English writer John Bunyan (1628 -1688) who stated “If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.” Our fruitfulness is the positive long-term effect our achievements have on others. For me, George Fredericks’ fruitfulness outweighed his achievements. Not that he has not achieved a lot. Our achievements assist us to stand out, be famous. Fruitfulness brings blessings into other people’s lives. This is exactly how I remember George. He was a mentor and person of inspiration to so many students and Colleagues, including me. I remember vividly how he inspired me, a part-time student, to pursue postgraduate studies, despite many challenges I faced. Prof Fredericks reminded me that challenges can be overcome. As the then Chairperson of the Department of Library and Information Science (LIS) and later acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts, George Fredericks truly showed true leadership by being compassionate and having an open door approach. What was truly remarkable of this gentle person, was his telephone calls and email messages, even during his retirement, to enquire not only about the state of the Department of LIS, but also about the welfare of his ex- Colleagues. In this short tribute to George Hector Fredericks, I wish to state my gratitude and privilege to have met this wonderful man. I wish his wife and daughter God’s blessings and may his family and extended family be consoled during this time of bereavement. - Gavin R Davis, PhD – Ex-student and colleague

I first came to know George Hector Fredericks when we attended classes together in the late 1970's for our Honours degrees. As a fellow student, he contributed to heated debates in class. He was a formidable student. Since then our professional lives were inseparable. We became friends and later colleagues in the Library and Information Science Department (LIS) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) when I joined in 1981. He was a team player par excellence.  George fostered a climate of camaraderie in which one felt so at home that one could only but comply. With his soft, yet firm demeanour, he managed to continue that same spirit into his role as Chair of the Department. As an academic he carried those same characteristics into the lecture halls and obtained the respect of the students.  He was very liked by them. He was a manager of people and this trait saw him advanced to the post of Dean of the Faculty of Arts at UWC. May his dear soul rest in peace. And rise in glory. - Sally Witbooi, former fellow student and colleague

UWC Library mourns the Loss of Prof George Fredericks. Condolences to Prof Fredericks' Family and Colleagues, especially UWC LIS Department. We acknowledge Prof Fredericks' immense contribution to the LIS sector in South Africa and beyond, via his research and supervision of librarians. It is through the efforts of Prof Fredericks that the LIS sector is richly rewarded by caring professional library leaders. Rest in Peace Prof George Fredericks. - Dr Shirlene Neerputh – UWC Library Director 

I was privileged to know Emeritus Professor George Fredericks, in his capacity as my supervisor for a Masters degree. Prof had a calm and patient approach as a supervisor and was inspirational and highly effective as a mentor.  He was succinct in his comments, whether verbal or written, with his guidance always to the point and exactly what was needed at the time. He was generous in sharing his time, knowledge and experience and many colleagues in the library profession will attest to experiencing the guiding hand of Prof. Fredericks in their studies and careers. May this giant of our profession rest in peace. Sincere condolences to Prof's family. - Mr Anwa Adriaanse – UWC Library Deputy Director: Resources and Systems

Prof. Fredericks supervised me 16 years ago and my experience was exactly as described by my colleague.  I mainly recall the few occasions we would meet afterwards when he would encourage me to proceed further with studies. He always sought to encourage us towards the goal of PhD in the gentlest way, with his disarming smile and twinkling, but knowing eyes. - Ms Allison Fullard – UWC Library Deputy Director: Learning & Teaching

When I think of George Fredericks, I found it amazing of how our ways went in almost the same direction. Mr. George Fredericks was our 1st librarian-in-charge at Grassy Park Public Library. Then at UWC I met him again as my lecturer in DLIS. Then I went to work at Grassy Park Public Library and we could speak about all the people we knew working in the Public Libraries. I then worked at UWC University library. Dr. George Fredericks was head of dept. Then Prof George Fredericks was dean of Arts Faculty. He was my supervisor for my postgrad studies. Even when he retired we would meet at his home in Paarl. Sitting on the stoep or lounge we talked about the people of Paarl whom we both knew as I also lived in Paarl for some time. As a person prof was always very supportive encouraging and understanding ito my studies. I am honoured to have graduated under him. He saw me through undergrad studies then hons. Masters and PhD. George Hector Fredericks was a real person’s person. Always quiet humble and helping people. Always the pleasure smiling "bokka". You will be truly missed prof. Go well. – Lilian Mitchell-Kamalie

I was privileged to travel with Prof Fredericks from Paarl to UWC from 1997 until his retirement.  During the 30 minute trips, we debated academic issues, sound boarded research ideas, tested pedagogic techniques, solve student problems, reviewed the Springbok, Western Province as well as Varsity rugby, shared children and later grandchildren’s escapades and gossiped good heartedly about colleagues and faculty happenings! Lizette King – former fellow traveller, PhD student, colleague & friend.